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-Radhika Maheshwari

Swapna Barman created history by becoming the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold, a feat she achieved despite competing with pain due to a toothache.

Barman, with a bandaged chin continued to compete in the heptathlon event with severe toothache and excruciating pain as she’d landed her chin on her knee during one of the events. Going into the last of the seven-event discipline that happens over two days, the 800m run, Barman topped the standings. In her final event, the 21-year-old strategized her run perfectly, to bag a whopping 6026 points, personal best score, in the end to become the first Indian woman to win an Asian Games heptathlon gold.

Being a girl from a small town of Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, Swapna is a daughter of Basana and Panchanan Barman. She is unusual in having six toes on each foot. Due to having less money She found it difficult to find the right food and her unusual feet caused her pain because she could not afford extra wide running shoes. Swapna uses her prize money to look after her family who live in a house without a concrete wall. In 2016 she won a scholarship of 150,000 rupees in recognition of the success she had at athletics. She currently trains at the Sports Authority of India campus at Kolkata.

Despite all her difficulties and problems, she faces, she has managed to make India proud and Won the first ever Gold in heptathlon for the country. We are proud of her.

What is Heptathlon?

Women’s heptathlon is the combined event for women contested in the athletics programme of the Olympics and at the IAAF World Championships.

The women’s outdoor heptathlon consists of the following events, with the first four contested on the first day, and the remaining three on day two:

  • 100 metres hurdles
  • High jump
  • Shot put
  • 200 metres
  • Long jump
  • Javelin throw
  • 800 metres
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