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From Acute Poverty to ‘Gold’ Glory: Story of Asian Games Gold Medalist Swapna Barman

swapna barman

Swapna Barman has become the first Indian to win a Heptathlon Gold medal in Asian Games. She won it at Asian Games 2018, Indonesia. Swapna’s was victory brought a smile to the face of every Indian. Suddenly, everyone has become curious to know more about her life and her journey to the Gold. Well, like many other success stories, Swapna’s is also one of going through hardships, struggles, and extremely hard work to get the fame she has got today. During the winning game, Swapna had a severe gum infection due to which this 21-year-old athlete kept her jaw bandaged. She had another disadvantage of having six toes in both her feet which makes the landings difficult during the jumps. But these difficulties were just a tip of the iceberg when you compare them with her life’s big challenges right from the time she was born! So, let’s have a look at the awe-inspiring story of this brave athlete.

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Swapna Barman belongs to the Rajbbongshi tribe in North Bengal. She was born on 29 October 1996 in West Bengal. Swapna’s mother Basana, worked as a maid and a tea plucker working in tea gardens. Her father Panchanan Barman pulled a rickshaw but now is bed-ridden after having suffered a stroke in 2013. His condition further made life more miserable for his four children. For Swapna, it was difficult to chase her dream to be a Gold medalist in Heptathlon as she didn’t have enough money for proper food and training. Swapna has six toes in both her feet. This unusual condition also caused her pain as she could not afford extra wide running shoes. Swapna after winning the Gold at Asian Games wishes to use her prize money to look after her family who lives in a small house with no concrete wall. In 2016 she won a scholarship of 150,000 rupees for her success at athletics. She currently trains at the Sports Authority of India campus at Kolkata. She is supported by the GoSports Foundation through the Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme.

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In 2017, Swapna missed a medal at the Asian Athletics Championships as she collapsed during the final event of Women’s heptathlon which was the 800 meters. Still, Swapna had broken many of her personal records and she had already gained enough points from the previous six events and she had finished fourth in the 800 meters.

Swapna humbled her opponents with her extraordinary performance in the Heptathlon events spanning two days. The girl of a poor rickshaw-puller man and a tea-picker woman got her inspiration from her humble roots and gave a shining performance at the competition in which she suppressed her pain to emerge the winner.

swapna barman

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Swapna Barman had been facing many many injuries at the time she was participating in the Asian Games 2018. She was advised for a back surgery. But Swapna participated in the Asian Games to win a Gold medal before going for the surgery.

On winning the Gold medal, Swapna said  “I have got this gold on the National Sports day, so it’s really special. 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,”

Isn’t Swapna Barman an inspiration to all those aspiring to be a top athlete whether a man or woman? Definitely, she is! She has proved you can achieve anything in the world if you have the passion for it. Swapna has overcome all hurdles in her life to be an international Gold Medalist athlete making all women proud who are trying to rise above the challenging situations in their lives. Wishing Swapna luck and success in everything she does!

swapna barman

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