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Soon, You Will Hear My Love Story - Evelyn Paragon

Paralympic Tennis Player, Evelyn Paragon, says sports has made her to aspire higher and that she wants to represent Nigeria in international tournaments

Wheel Chair-bound Evelyn Paragon says she was bullied in school because of her condition

Table Tennis player, Evelyn Paragon, said coming into sports has changed her perspective about life and made her a better person:

How did you get into sports?

My journey into sports is a long story. I think it started in year 2000 when I was in the U.S in a hospital, where they told me I could play wheelchair basketball.

But when I came back to Nigeria, there was no one to play wheelchair basketball with. We were having inter-house sports in school then and one of the coaches saw me and told me I should come play table tennis.

Thereafter I had worked with different coaches and it’s really been fun and challenging. The joy that comes with it is that as a physically challenged person I’ve been able to do something that I love to make others happy, and also to make state happy.

When I win, the glory goes not just to myself or my parents or my coaches, but to my state too. That makes me happy and fulfilled.

Apart from sports what else do you do?

I’m a student and I just graduated from Delta State Polytechnic where I studied Office Technology and Management Practice.

Currently I’m serving my nation as a youth corps member. I’m also a motivational speaker. I talk to people not to let their present circumstances stop them from aiming high in life.

Life is all about input and output, what you give to it is what you will get as output. No matter what you are facing as a physically challenged person, do not take it as part of your life because what happens to a man does not define the destiny of a man; it is what he does that defines him.

You know in Nigeria, not just Nigeria alone, when people see a physically challenged person, they think they do not have anything to offer in life. In sports, you don’t just do things that you love, but you also make others happy with your efforts. That alone has been my joy.

How has your involvement in sports helped you?

It has bettered me in a lot of ways and one of the ways is that it has opened up my mind and it makes me aspire high.

My dream one day is to wear the national colours, green and white, and to represent Nigeria. I know that I am getting there.

I’ve been able to encourage others who are like me and those who are worse than I am to go into sports because it makes you fulfilled as a person.

You know in Nigeria, not just Nigeria alone, when people see a physically challenged person, they think they do not have anything to offer in life. In sports, you don’t just do things that you love, but you also make others happy with your efforts. That alone has been my joy.

How have you combined being an athlete, a student and a motivational speaker?

When you are determined to do something, you don’t let the hurdles in front of you tie you down. When you stop to listen to every dog that barks on the way, you won’t go forward. I am not saying that I was not bullied in school, I was bullied a lot and there were times that I had to calm myself to sleep.

But as a motivational speaker, if I am encouraging others, I should be able to encourage myself and be determined. I am grateful to God because I am alive and that’s something to be grateful about.

Not everybody has that privilege of been alive after what I had to go through, but I am alive and I want to make the best out of life.

I want to be able to give back to life, give back to people, and remember those that have been forgotten by the society.

Someday I hope to have a foundation and take care of kids that have been forgotten by the society. I know because I am determined God is going to see me through and I will do that.

Are you in a relationship?

Relationship is a good thing. Every lady dreams of settling down one day with Mr. Right. I am not saying there is no body, there is but some people feel when a lady is physically challenged nobody talks to her.

People will talk to you when you have the right mentality, whatever you think is what will happen to you not what people say. When the time comes, you will hear the gist.

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