Supermom Stephy Nixon's inspiring return from pregnancy to Indian basketball team
Amid lacklustre performances by the Indian team -- the story of Stephy Nixon stepping inside the basketball court is an inspiring narrative.
There haven't been any positive takeaway from the Indian women's basketball team's performance at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup. India suffered their third successive defeat on Thursday, going down to a 58-87 loss to Chinese Taipei at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru.
The Indian team led by R. Rajapriyadarshini is out of the title race and will have their task cut out when they face the Philippines in the 7th-place playoff match on Friday. The winner will remain in the elite Division-A, while the loser will be relegated to Division-B in the next edition.
After being hammered 103-27 by defending champions Japan in the opening match, India showed some promise in their second outing against Korea. However, despite a bright start, the Indian Eves fizzled out to lose 62-97. Chinese Taipei, being much lower-ranked than Japan and Korea, were the only side India was expecting to pull off an upset against. But the fourth quarter witnessed far too many turnovers from India, allowing Chinese Taipei to complete an easy victory.
Among the lacklustre performances by the Indian team who are staring at relegation, one incredible story came out -- the story of Stephy Nixon stepping inside the basketball court for the Indian team post her delivery. Stephy's son Eric was born in August 2017, Stephy started working out and yoga by three months of her delivery. After eight months, she went on to play the Kerala State Senior Championship in and was honoured as the best player in the tournament. Soon after the tournament, she went back to the Indian camp, and by September 2018, she played in the Asian Games.
Stephy has been a regular in the Indian national women's team and since delivering her first child who is now two years old. The 6'2" Kerala lass, Stephy started playing basketball during her school days when she was in class seven. It was two of her teachers who noticed her impressive height and kept her motivated to pursue the sports professionally.
Stephy was lucky enough as she received support from her family as well to pursue basketball and then she moved to a state Sports Council programme. Years of gruelling practice made her fall in love with the sports, and she could continue it after her marriage with her marriage to Eudrick Pereira, a basketball player who captains the Customs & Central Excise team and who has represented India. Eudrick has been a constant support to his wife, and he could well understand the pride and sacrifices associated with wearing the Indian colours. During her pregnancy, Stephy had gained weight, and it was her husband who used to formulate diets for her and always motivated her to return to the court. Stephy, who works for the KSEB, which is the best club team in the state, also names her coach Aji Jacob and her fellow KSEB players for supporting her in her game.
The Bridge interviewed her husband, Eudrick, where he said:
A woman's body undergoes significant change during pregnancy. And besides, it is also difficult to pursue sports for a mother missing every crucial milestone of her child.
Beyond wins and losses, we should remember such human endeavours that go a long way to make a positive statement about the spirit of sportsmanship. Stephy hopes her story inspires others to take up basketball and dedicate their lives to the game even after all the hurdles they face in life.
We thanks ekalavyas.com for bringing such inspiring basketball stories to the fore.