Against All Odds, Swapna Barman Makes History By Winning India's First Gold In Heptathlon!

Against All Odds, Swapna Barman Makes History By Winning India's First Gold In Heptathlon!

On Wednesday, 21-year-old Swapna Barman made history. She made the entire country beam with pride after winning India’s first ever heptathlon gold medal in the Asian Games. And what a victory!

However, it has not been an easy journey for the young athlete. Her father, a rickshaw puller, has been bedridden due to a stroke since she was a child, and her mother, a tea estate worker and a house help, was the only one who supported the family. Plus, the young star was also born with twelve toes, meaning she had to wear customised shoes - something the family couldn’t afford.

All her life, she has trained wearing shoes that weren’t an ideal fit. As if all this wasn’t enough, a day before the Asian Games, she suffered from an excruciating toothache, so she actually competed with a bandage on her cheek to soothe the pain.

Despite all this though, she has managed to fight the odds and make her country proud. “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,” explained a triumphant Swapna.

The gold was India’s 54th medal in the on-going Asian Games and the fifth gold in athletics alone.

When the 21-year-old was bidding farewell to her mother in her village, Ghospara in North Bengal she said, “Medal na jitle bari firbo na (won’t return home unless I win a medal).” Today, the dream has come true.

The journey from Bengal to Indonesia hasn’t been an easy one, but she has now stood victorious and we couldn’t be more proud. Also, let's take Swapna's plea of having customised shoes forward, it's the least we could for our athletes. 

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