5 events, 12 toes and a stickler for figures!
I did not think that I would come this far. An Asian Games gold was beyond my imagination.
Swapna Barman is very particular about numbers. Every time her coach, Subhash Sarkar, gets a figure wrong, the heptathlete corrects him.
The coach, for his part, has been correcting Swapna’s technique and moulding her to be a better athlete for the last six years.
“It would have not been possible to come so far without his help,” Swapna admits. The seasoned coach, who has been with the athlete through thick and thin, has played a parental role in guiding his ward to glory, too.
The Asian Games gold medallist and her coach spoke to Sportstar on a range of issues.
The country celebrated Swapna’s Asian Games success. As a coach, could you tell us how challenging a journey it was?
It was a big challenge. Her physique is not conducive for high jump or heptathlon. If you are a high jumper, the lower leg should be stronger, the body weight should be less and you must be skinny. It is also important to have a good height. Swapna does not have much similarity with the traditional high jumpers. The only thing that worked for her was the fact that she had very good jumping power. So we cashed in on that and tried getting the best out of her. That was the beginning, but I realised a littler later that she could fare well in heptathlon. I am happy that my instinct was right and the move paid off. That’s what a coach is supposed to do — spot talent, choose the right event and then make the most of the talent. I am partially successful.
When you saw her for the first time, did you feel that this girl had enough potential?
Like Swapna, even I come from Jalpaiguri. So, during one of my visits home
Pioneering effort: Swapna Barman delivers a first for India — the heptathlon gold at the Asian Games.