21 year old Swapna Barman becomes the first Indian heptathlete to win gold in 18th Asian Games. This has been the proud moment for all Indians as she created a new history for Indians in Jakarta after crossing several barriers. She performed her best in three events ; shot put, long jump and javelin throw.
Early Life of Swapna Barman –
Born in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, she is unusual with six toes on each foot. This was very painful for her as it pained during the run but she could not afford extra wide running shoes for her. Her father is a rickshaw puller. Her life has been very difficult since 2013 when her father got bed-ridden after he got a major stroke. After then, her mother Basana took care of her family.
Heptathlon The Game –
Heptathlon is a game which is divided into seven stages; first one is a 100 meter race, second is high jump, third is shot put, fourth is 200 meter race, fifth long jump, sixth is javelin throw and seventh is 800 meter race. The athletes get points on the basis of these games.
Her Struggle –
Three days before the final event, she started suffering from toothache. In spite of so much pain she didn’t give up. She confirmed the reporters that on the very first day of the event, she was in severe pain but she was determined to perform in Asian Games. Swapna got 6026 points in total. Last year she won gold medal in Asia Athletics championship. Prior to she got fifth position in 17th Asian games in heptathlon.
Soon after her win, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee announced a government job for her along with a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh. The state government is also planning for a felicitation ceremony after Swapna’s return to India. She had to go through a major challenge of finding an extra wide shoes for her feet. Her shoes made her landing difficult and worn out quickly. After winning the gold medal, she pleaded for special shoes for her feet.
In an interview she said that she hoped that she would be known for winning gold medal in heptathlon rather than for her 12 toes. She also added that now she is keeping her eyes on 2020 Tokyo Olympics and she would very soon start working to get medal in it.
Swapna’s mother said that before going for Asian games she said her that she would not return home if she would not win a medal. She had never demanded anything from her parents. She spent all her money in building a Kali temple outside her house and this was the last time when she had visited her house.
Ujjal Das Choudhary, secretary of Jalpaiguri District Athletics Association, added that he had followed Swapna’s career very closely. He found her very determined. Whenever anyone tried to discourage her, she proved the person wrong by her performance.
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