Silver medallist at the 2018 Africa Wrestling Championship (AWC) in Port Harcourt, Comfort Stephen finds it interesting engaging in multiple sports. Stephen started as a handball player in 2015 but decided to try out other sports hoping for a breakthrough.
The second child of a family of five, she took up the responsibility of taking care of the home alongside her older sister when things got rough back home. With little or nothing from handball, she decided to delve into shooting and later wrestling which eventually paid off in the 57kg freestyle wrestling at the AWC last year.
Stephen, an undergraduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University said she finds it interesting combining the three sports together as well as her education.
“Others see it as stress but I don’t see it that way because for me, I am having so much fun doing the three. I have training schedule for the three sports so no stress at all,” she said.
“I am studying Physical and Health Education (PHE) in school which gives me a better understanding of my sports. Studying and engaging in three sports doesn’t affect me at all. I have enough time to study.”
Stephen from Abia state told ACLSports.com why she couldn’t stick with handball.
“My frustration from handball made me try out shooting and later wrestling because I was just looking for a breakthrough in life.
“A lot of politics happen in handball so no matter how good you think you are you will not get what you want. Immediately I decided to go into wrestling, I got a medal in my first international competition. What if I had not tried and I just stuck with handball and hoping things get better some day?
“Coaches like choosing players based on familiarity, relationship or who they like. If you are not one of their favourites then you are just there for the fun and nothing more. Although things are getting better under the Handball Federation President, Sam Ocheho but the thing is he can’t know everything that happens.”
Stephen further explained how she got into wrestling and the coaches who convinced her to wrestle.
“I tried out shooting first then coach Lucky, Tosin and Tony all wrestling coaches played a role in convincing me to come wrestle. They have been persuading me for a long time but I turned it down because I thought it was like the ones we watch on TV (WWE).
In December 2017, there were no competitions in handball so I decided to go do some fitness training in the gym. I met one of the wrestling coaches and this time, he convinced me to just train with them which I did. To my greatest surprise, I did well and from there I was included on the list for the AWC after winning a gold medal at the Governor Wike National Wrestling Championship in December 2017, my first wrestling competition.”
The 23 year old shared her first international experience at the 2018 African Wrestling Championship in Port Harcourt with ACLSports.com.
“I was very scared because it was my first international outing and didn’t know I was going to finish on the podium.
On her plans for 2019 Stephen said: “I want to make my country proud again like I did last year at the Africa Wrestling Championship in Port Harcourt by working hard so I can put food on my family’s table. I am confident that I’ll come back with a gold medal.”
Stephen who also played for Seasiders in the Prudent Energy Handball league last year, is confident her team will do better this year.
“We really tried our best but was not enough to finish in the top three. The positives I have is that we have unity in my team which works for us. I am hoping this year will be better and we will come out stronger when the league begins.”