Swapna Bar­man to get Cus­tomised Adi­das shoes

Shoes & Accessories - - The Month That Was -

As the Sports Author­ity of In­dia (SAI) has tied up with footwear com­pany Adi­das to en­sure spe­cially-de­signed gear, Asiad Games gold-medal­list Swapna Bar­man will have cus­tomised shoes for her 12-toed feet soon. “Af­ter com­ing to know about Swapna’s case, the Sports Min­is­ter im­me­di­ately di­rected us from Jakarta to get cus­tomised shoes made for her. We have taken up the mat­ter with Adi­das and they have agreed to pro­vide the footwear,” SAI Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Nee­lam Ka­pur was quoted.

Born with six toes in both her feet, Swapna’s plight came to light only af­ter she be­came the first In­dian ath­lete to win an Asiad gold in hep­tathlon with a ca­reer-best per­for­mance in the 18th edi­tion of the Games in Jakarta last month. Af­ter her vic­tory, the ath­lete made an emo­tional ap­peal for cus­tomised shoes and the SAI im­me­di­ately sprung into ac­tion af­ter Sports Min­is­ter Ra­jyavard­han Singh Rathore di­rected the con­cerned au­thor­i­ties to take up the mat­ter on an ur­gent ba­sis.

The SAI has al­ready sent a com­mu­ni­ca­tion to Swapna’s coach Subash Sarkar at its Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Kolkata, ask­ing for spec­i­fi­ca­tions, such as size, pres­sure points and draw­ings for the cus­tomised spikes.

Sarkar said he had told SAI of­fi­cials about the need for cus­tomised shoes for Swapna just be­fore the Asian Games but the mat­ter gained im­por­tance only af­ter her vic­tory in Jakarta.

“Once I in­for­mally told a SAI of­fi­cial about the shoe is­sue but I never took up the mat­ter se­ri­ously. Ac­tu­ally I didn’t want her to al­ter things just be­fore the Asian Games as she got ad­justed to the reg­u­lar shoes and was do­ing fine. Try­ing a new shoe just be­fore the Games could have been ad­verse,” he said.

“And she hadn’t gained fame at that time. Now af­ter win­ning the gold, she has be­come a celebrity and ev­ery com­pany is try­ing to get mileage out of her.”

Her tal­ent was first iden­ti­fied in 2012 and since then she has been train­ing at the SAI Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Kolkata. Swapna was in­ducted in the Gov­ern­ment’s Tar­get Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in Septem­ber last year.

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