Swapna Barman, who became the first Indian to secure a gold medal in heptathlon at the Asian Games, left for Nuremberg, Germany for her customised shoes, on Monday night, which will be designed by a sportswear giant based in the country. Swapna, who hails from West Bengal, is born with six toes in both her feet, and her condition garnered attraction when she clinched a gold at the Jakarta Games held earlier this year.
After her glory at the Asian Games, the athlete had made an emotional appeal for customised shoes, which saw an immediate response from the Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who directed the concerned authorities to take up the matter on an urgent basis.
Before heading to Germany, the heptathlete said the customised shoes will help her improve her performance. “This step is really important for me as a custom-made shoe will help me deal with the pain I feel on the track. My coach (Subhash Sarkar) and I are working on improving my speed in the 200m sprint event, this should help in that too,” Swapna was quoted as saying by Mail Today.
Her coach, who accompanied her to Germany said that they are currently looking for a sprint coach to help her better her timing and she will resume her training when she returns from Germany.
“We haven’t started her training yet because we were awaiting development on her shoes. Now that it is getting taken care of we will resume our search to find her a foreign sprint specialist coach who can work on her timing in 200m,” the coach said.
Speaking on the upcoming national games, Sarkar said, “At the moment the aim is to prepare her for the national games in February but will decide on that after we get to know how much her body can take during the pre-season.”