Swapna Barman became on Wednesday the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold medal.
The 21-year-old logged 6026 points from seven events competed for two days. She won the high jump (1003 points) and javelin throw (872 points) events and finished runner-up in shot put (707 points) and long jump (865 points).
Along with a 5th position in the 100m event, a seventh in the 200m and a fourth in the 800m, Barman secured the gold medal.
China’s Qingling Wang took home the silver with 5954 points and Japan’s Yuki Yamasaki the bronze with 5873.
Currently India has 54 Asian Games medals: 11 gold, 20 silver and 23 bronze.
Pain is the best motivator. 💪Glad to have won a historic gold medal in Women's Heptathlon in the @asiangames2018 for my country.— Swapna Barman (@Swapna_Barman96) 30 August 2018
Thank you everyone for the endless love and support! 🇮🇳 #AsianGames2018 #TeamIndiaAthletics pic.twitter.com/Mcsw6oHbSW
Plea for customized shoes
Born with six toes on each foot, the Indian athlete said every step of the race had been painful as she strapped through the pain barrier in her ill-fitting footwear.
'Normal shoes don't work for me. There is lot of pain when I wear any shoe, spikes or anything,' she said after securing the top of the podium on Wednesday.
'I hope they make special shoes for me because I have a lot of pain. Even warm-up shoes hurt, so forget about spikes.'
However, at the heptathlon event her feet were not her only concern, as she raced with an acute toothache.
'I used to eat a lot of chocolates so have a lot of pain in one of my teeth before the start of the competition,' she told reporters.
'First day I thought I will not be able to do it because there was so much pain. But I had to do it because of all these days of hard work.'
Abnormal feet, father bedridden, Mom tea garden worker, family under extreme economic hardships & injured Jaw at the time of competition but this girl had heart of a Lion. She roared & conquered the world defying all odds. No victory can match this. #SwapnaBarman #AsianGames2018 pic.twitter.com/tjJywCdXoV— Major Amit Bansal (@majorbanny) 30 August 2018
Barman shot to fame last year after achieving gold at the Asian Championships in India.
However, a string of ankle and back injuries kept her out for almost a year. She still managed to return in time to finish second in India’s Asian Games qualifiers.
#AsianGames2018 #SwapnaBarman Swapna Barman became the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games Gold medal as the Indian athlete, despite suffering from a toothache, fought hard to finish with a brilliant total of 6026 points. Congratulations 🥁🥇 pic.twitter.com/YaoUT6RkvF— Narendra Kumar Das (@NKDAS_SAIL) 29 August 2018