Swapna Barman, a 21-year old Indian athlete has won gold in the 2018 Asian Games and Indians glow with pride, yet again.
Barman is the first Indian to win gold in the Asian games and put India on the global map. She scored an aggregate of 6026 points across the span of seven events of 100 meters hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw, 800 meters, collectively known as heptathlon. However, her road to glory was rough and sorely.
Imagine having six toes on each foot and wearing a pair of shoes that can only fit five. Along with this discomfort and pain add a toothache, back, ankle, knee and hamstring injuries. Now imagine performing in an athletic event with all of these disadvantages where you’d represent your country and all of your family’s hopes and the faith that has kept you going through four years’ of practice. Would you feel weak and feel like you should give up like a quitter or would you find the inner strength and motivation to pull it off and not give up and not be a quitter?
Well, Swapna Barman found that inner strength went through this and won gold.
Along with these unfortunate turn of events, life wasn’t always easy for Swapna. She had a hard time obtaining sponsors and special shoes that would fit her special(what some would consider abnormal) feet. Her father was a rickshaw driver and her mother worked on a tea farm. Swapna was recognized and received a scholarship in 2016.
She has received appreciation from all over India and the country is incredibly proud of her on winning, in spite of her hardships. Probably this is a wake-up call for the Sports Authority of India to provide athletes like Swapna, the resources that they need. As they put so much on the line and should be rewarded substantially to sustain and recognize value. Athletes like her who trust their talent and won't back down, are going to do it anyways without the authority's support.
Although Indians have acknowledged Swapna's victory through appreciative tweets:
Brilliance in the track and field events again. Outstanding performances from @Swapna_Barman96 (who blazed ahead with a bandaged jaw & 6 toes on each foot) & #ArpinderSingh. Both won Gold?Medals at the Heptathlon & Triple Jump Events respectively. Just amazing! #AsianGames2018 pic.twitter.com/qDDqYhuHo2— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 29, 2018
Have become a huge Swapna Barman fan - heptathelete. Compelling story, compelling talent. Injured and in obvious discomfort but persevering. Hope I get the opportunity to meet her some day. #AsianGames2018 pic.twitter.com/baaHkF2VU0— Advaita Kala / अद्वैता काला (@AdvaitaKala) August 29, 2018
Poverty, physical difficulty to run with ill-fitting shoes that always pinch the six toes on each of her feet, even a raging toothache didn’t stop her from winning. This is what heroes look like. Swapna Barman- you’re an inspiration. Jai Hind! #SwapnaBarman pic.twitter.com/KvM4cymrCC— Kirron Kher (@KirronKherBJP) August 30, 2018
Congratulations Swapna Barman ! The pride in your parents eyes on your Gold Medal at the Asian Games speaks volumes !! pic.twitter.com/YtQQEJ2l51— SS Ahluwalia (@SSAhluwaliaMP) September 1, 2018
Accelerating India - Integral Coach Factory, Chennai of Indian Railways to sponsor special customised shoes for Asian Games gold medal winner Swapna Barman https://t.co/OEbGASG4Q7— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) August 31, 2018
Dear Brands ,Too much of Virat kohli , Amitabh Bachchan ,Akshay Kumar and deepika Padukone in your advertisements!— sumit (@sumitsaurabh) September 8, 2018
Try Hima Das , Jinson Johnson , Anas Muhammed , Amit Phangal , Swapna Barman etc ! They inspire the new and young India more than your repetitive billionaire faces
Heartiest congratulations to Swapna Barman, our heptathlon queen from India and Bangla, on winning the gold at the Asian Games. You have made us very proud— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) August 29, 2018
Just got news from @DeepthiBopaiah of @GoSportsVoices that @Swapna_Barman96 has won the gold medal in the #Heptathlon at the #AsianGames2018 Hers is a phenomenal story of overcoming adversity. Fantastic, Swapna! So happy for you and for @GoSportsVoices !— Rahul Bose (@RahulBose1) August 29, 2018