West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced Rs 10 lakh cash prize and a government job to 2018 Asian Game gold medallist Swapna Barman as a token of gift for her remarkable achievement in the heptathlon event at the ongoing Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The twenty-one-year-old daughter of a tea picker and a rickshaw puller from Jalpaiguri in north Bengal marked her name in the history books as she became the first heptathlete to win gold at the Asian Games.
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Trinamool Congress spokesperson Derek O'Brien took to Twitter to praise Swapna Barman and announce the reward for her performance in the Asian Games 2018.
"#Bengal “discovered” the talented @Swapna_Barman96 & recognised her skills. She received the ‘Banga Ratna’ award in 2013. Swapna trains at the Biswa Bangla Krirangan, a sporting infrastructure set up by @mamataofficial. This has immensely helped the champion in her training," he wrote.
The tenacious athlete had shown her grit and determination despite having severe toothaches before the race and unbearable pain caused by the spikes as she has 6 toes in both her feet. She participated in the event with a tape on her right cheek due to the pain arising from the teeth infection. "Normal shoes don't work for me. There is lot of pain when I wear any shoe, spikes or anything," she told reporters after winning gold. "I hope they make special shoes for me because I have a lot of pain. Even warm-up shoes hurt me, so forget about spikes."
Swapna Barman won the high jump and javelin throw events and finished as runners-up in the shot put and long jump events, while her weakest performances came in 100m and 200m as she finished seventh in both.
"We're very happy. Me & Swapna's dad toiled hard to help her in her journey. Today all our dreams came true," her mother was quoted as saying by ANI.
A heptathlon is a seven-game event which covers several track and field events in a span of two days.