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I'm A Celeb's Fatima Whitbread: Who are her parents?

Fatima is a former Olympic javelin thrower

I'm A Celeb's Fatima Whitbread: Who are her parents?
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
24 April 2023
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Fatima Whitbread returns to the jungle in I'm A Celeb South Africa, which kicks off on ITV1 on Monday night. 

The retired javelin thrower first appeared on the show back in 2011, and viewers may remember the now-iconic moment when a cockroach became lodged in her nasal cavity. While Fatima found fame thanks to her sporting career, did you know she's not the only javelin thrower in her family?

WATCH: Fatima Whitbread gets cockroach stuck up her nose on I’m A Celeb

Fatima's adoptive mother is Great Britain national javelin coach Margaret Whitbread, who represented England in the javelin at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. 

Fatima was adopted at the age of 14 in 1975 by Margaret and her husband John Whitbread. 

The Olympic champion spent the first 14 years of her life in children's homes, having been abandoned by her biological parents as a baby.

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Speaking about her childhood during a recent appearance on Celebrity SAS, she said: "I was abandoned as a baby, and some would say left to die, in a flat in London, and a neighbour heard that baby crying for a couple of days and didn’t see anyone coming or going, so she reported it.

Fatima Whitbread with her adoptive mother Margaret Whitbread© Ted Blackbrow/ANL/REX/Shutterstock
Fatima Whitbread with her adoptive mother Margaret Whitbread

"The police obviously came along, banged the door down, rescued the baby and it got taken into hospital, where I stayed for six months."

She went on to add: "I was fortunate to find the love of the Whitbread family at 14."

Fatima found her passion for javelin throwing at the age of 11. After being adopted by the Whitbread family, Margaret coached Fatima, who went on to become European Junior Champion in 1979 and was chosen for the Moscow Olympics whilst still a teenager.

Despite abandoning her as a baby, Fatima's abusive biological mother, who was Turkish Cypriot, would occasionally come back into her life during her years spent in children's homes. 

Fatima Whitbread on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! in 2011© REX/Shutterstock
Fatima Whitbread first appeared on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! in 2011

Opening up about being adopted by the family, Fatima told The Guardian: "That was amazing, the best thing that happened, to be a part of a family, which I’d always wanted.

"It wasn't straightforward, because all families have their problems. Both as mum and daughter and athlete and coach, we worked it out somehow – and we conquered the world."

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