Swapna Barman clinched India’s first-ever heptathlon gold on Wednesday at Asian Games 2018 held at Jakarta, Indonesia. Swapna clinched the gold despite suffering a severe jaw injury. She competed with a tape on her right cheek to lessen pain arising out of teeth infection but never gave up.
The heptathlon consists of seven events including 100m race, high jump, shot put, 200m race, long jump, javelin throw and 800m race. These events were spread for two days and Swapna gave her level best to produce her career-best performance by logging 6026 aggregate points.
Before Barman, only Bengal’s Soma Biswas and Karnataka’s J J Shobha and Pramila Aiyappa had returned with a medal from the Asian Games but none of them have won a gold.
Biswas and Shobha had finished two-three at both Busan Asian Games (2002) and the Doha Games (2006), while Pramila had won a bronze at the 2010 Guangzhou edition.
Eventually, the 21-year-old became the first Indian woman to win an Asian Games heptathlon gold medal. “I have got this gold on the National Sports day, so it’s really special” Swapna said with a smile.
China’s Wang Qingling took home the silver medal, who scored 5954 points. The bronze medal went to Japan’s Yuki Yamasaki with 5873 points. India’s Purnima Hembram finished fourth in the event with 5837 points.
Swapna’s gold medal equalled India’s gold medal count in the 2014 edition. India now have 54 medals in total – 11 gold, 20 silver and 23 bronze.