How Swapna Barman braved serious pain to create Asian Games history

first_imgSwapna Barman on Wednesday created history as became the first Indian to win a gold in heptathlon at Asian Games.The 21-year-old Barman produced the best performance of her career as she aggregated 6026 points from seven events spread over two days. What caught the eyes over these two days was the tape on her right cheek with which she competed.The tape was used by Barman to tackle the severe toothache, which threatened to throw her campaign off tracks. Her discomfort was clearly visible during the shot put event when she was seen regularly feeling her cheek.But the girl from West Bengal was determined, so much so that even the excruciating pain could not distract her from her goal.ASIAN GAMES 2018 FULL COVERAGE | MEDALS”It started paining two days before the event. It was severe but I could not let years of hard work go waste. So I forgot the pain and gave my best,” Barman told PTI after winning India’s fifth gold in Athletics.”First day, I thought I won’t be able to compete. It was unbearable. I thought what will happen to my hard work, I had to do it. I forgot the pain.”The toothache and the tape was never going to stop Barman, after all it’s the least of her all problems. With Barman, there’s more than what meets the eye.READ – Swapna Barman wins India’s first ever gold in heptathlonBarman has six toes on both her feet and to make matter worse she had to compete wearing normal shoes. Barman had to try out locally manufactured shoes before reverting to the standard-sized footwear.advertisementThe wins & the money have helped my family & #SAI has been a huge help for me & my family.Im so thankful to everyone from @afiindia & SAI. @Swapna_Barman96,gold medalist in womens heptathlon,#TOPSAthlete & trainee at SAI COE Kolkata.SAI is proud to support you, Swapna! (@Media_SAI) August 29, 2018″I use normal shoes worn by people who have normal five toes. It really pains during training. It is very uncomfortable, whether I wear spikes or normal shoes,” Barman said.Extra toes make landings more painful for the athlete. She had also been suggested to surgically remove the extra toes, but Barman has always wanted to do things her way. After all extra toes are nothing in front of the family issues Barman had to brave at such a young age to reach greater heights.READ – Indian athletes win Asiad glory against all odds: A story of grit and inspirationBarman’s father, who was a rickshaw puller, has been bed-ridden since 2013 due to a stroke. To make the matter worse, Barman also struggled with knee and ankle injuries last year which kept her out of action. The grit and courage of Barman, who came fifth on her Asian Games debut in Incheon four years ago, kept her going as she made a comeback in June to secure her second Asian Games participation.And despite all these problems, Swapna has now managed to achieve a feat which only three other female athletes from India have managed before.Before Barman, only Bengal’s Soma Biswas and Karnataka’s J J Shobha and Pramila Aiyappa had returned with a medal from the Asian Games but none of them have won a gold.Biswas and Shobha had finished two-three at both Busan Asian Games (2002) and the Doha Games (2006), while Pramila had won a bronze at the 2010 Guangzhou edition.last_img