Fourth national title boosts Balfour
Winning national wrestling titles never grows old for Jevon Balfour.
“The first time definitely felt the best, but it still feels good,” he said.
The 23-year-old Brampton native recently won his fourth straight 74-kilogram senior national title in Montreal and the victory was a much-needed boost of confidence.
“This year, I have had a lot of international experience and I wasn’t feeling that great about still being in the sport and whatnot,” the Brock Wrestling Club member said. “I went to the under-23s, I went to Spain and I went to Cuba and didn’t get the results that I wanted.
“I was just losing and losing and losing and I needed to get a W somewhere.”
That happened at nationals.
“It was that uplifter and it was at a good time because right before that I was starting to feel good about the sport again.”
Balfour’s wrestling malaise has happened in the past but never to the extent it was this time around.
“This year was one of the tougher years, for sure,” he said. “Usually I feel it for a bit and bounce back, but this year it was rough.”
He suffered through a series of injuries that added to his problems.
“My hand would hurt so much in practice and it wasn’t improving and then my shoulder started hurting and acting up,” Balfour said. “Then getting close to nationals, everything started feeling good, the body started feeling better and I started to wrestle well and more aggressively.”
He knew he was being timid on the mat but it was because he didn’t want exacerbate his injuries. All that changed right before nationals and he was ready to defend his title.
Balfour started out strongly at the Canadian championships, winning 11-0 and 11-1. In his final match, he trailed 3-0 early before roaring back to win by an 11-3 margin.
His win at the Canadians has qualified him to attend the world championships for the third time. He lost his first match in his first two trips.
“They were close matches against decent guys, but I didn’t pull through,” he said. “I want to do way better.”
In the grand scheme of things, Balfour is still young to be achieving what he is in wrestling, but he’s impatient to achieve even more.
“I don’t care at all about that,” he said. “I feel like I should have been world champion a long time ago.
“It’s taking too long.”
Next up for Balfour are the Commonwealth Games in Australia. He leaves for Australia April 5 and will be looking to improve upon the silver medal he won in 2014.
“I’m excited to go to these Commonwealth Games and excited to go to Australia,” he said. “It is going to be a great time.”
It’s the third major international games he has attended, including the 2015 Pan Am Games, and he is going with winning on his mind.
“I have a good guy in my weight class — he wrestles for India — and it’s going to be amazing to beat him.”
When interviewed last week, Balfour was in the midst of a much-needed break from training, but he didn’t shut things down completely. He was still lifting weights during the week.
Having a week off is a big deal for the inhabitants of the Brock wrestling room.
“So far it has been a lot of eating,” he said, with a laugh. “I have had Popeye’s chicken twice already. I’ve had a full tray of Oreos and whatnot.”
It’s also a time to renew acquaintances.
“I am hanging out with my friends and I am going to go home for a bit to see my family,” he said. “I don’t get to see them very often because I am always training.”
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