New Delhi, Aug 30, 2018 : Heptathlete Swapna Barman created history by becoming the first Indian to win an Asian Games gold, a feat she achieved despite competing with a severe toothache and a knee injury. Swapna, who hails from Ghoshpara Colony in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, had to fight all odds including acute poverty to achieve the feat at the 18th Asian Games.
Barman, who was born with six toes in both her feet, delivered her career-best performance by logging 6026 aggregate points from the seven events spread for two days. Battling the severe toothache arising out of an infection, Barman had to compete with a tape on her right cheek to lessen the pain. Swapna said she also overcame a knee injury before the event.
En route the title, she won the high jump (1003 points) and javelin throw (872 points) events and finished second-best in shot put (707 points) and long jump (865 points). Her weakest events were 100m (981 points, 5th position) and 200m in which she finished seventh with 790 points. Going into the 800m run, the last of the seven-event competition, Barman was leading China’s Qingling Wang by 64 points.
She needed a good run in the concluding event in which she eventually finished fourth. It was the same event in which she had collapsed during the Asian Athletics Championship last year in Bhubaneswar but despite finishing fourth today, she had emerged a champion.
Triple jumper Arpinder Singh today ended a 48-year long wait of India for a gold at the Asian Games with an effort of 16.77m. India’s last Asian Games gold medal in men’s triple jump had come in 1970 from Mohinder Singh Gill.
Arpinder, who had been without a medal in multi-sporting events since winning a bronze in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, produced his best jump of 16.77m in his third attempt. However, the 25-year old said that his performance dipped because of a training in UK, where he could not adjust to new training methods.
Sprinter Dutee Chand joined her illustrious compatriots such as PT Usha in the list of athletes who have won more than one medal at the Asian Games as she added a silver to her kitty after finishing second earlier in the women’s 100m dash today.
She crossed the finishing line in 23.20 seconds, behind Bahrain’s Edidiong Odiong who clinched the gold in 22.96. It has been an outstanding show by the 22-year-old Odisha sprinter who was not allowed to compete in 2014-15 under the IAAF’s hyperandrogenism policy due to which she missed the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games. She fought and won a case against this policy at the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
In Table Tennis, Indian pair of A Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra won a bronze medal, thus ending India’s 60-year-wait for a maiden medal in the game at the Asian Games.
Also on a roll were the squash players. In their best ever show at the Games, they were assured of two more medals after the men’s and women’s teams advanced to the semifinals. The men’s defeated Thailand, while the women sailed past China, both winning by an identical 3-0 margin. The squash players had claimed three bronze medals in the singles competition and with two medals assured in team events, they have exceeded their 2014 performance in terms of a number of medals won.
Boxing saw mixed results at the Asian Games today. Star boxer Vikas Krishan (75kg) overcame a bleeding left eye to be assured of an unprecedented third consecutive Asian Games medal, while Amit Panghal (49kg) produced a power-packed performance in his quarterfinal bout to guarantee himself a maiden podium finish.
The Indian men’s handball team ended its campaign on a positive note, defeating Indonesia in a group 3 main round match. In men’s 1500m, Jinson Johnson and Manjit Singh made it to the final race at overall second and seventh in the qualification race.
In Hockey, the women’s team provided the perfect end to the day, by making the finals with a 1-0 win over China. On Friday, the Indian Women’s Hockey will take on Japan in the final. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other leaders on Wednesday congratulated the Indian athletes who won the medals at the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia.
Sports Minister Rajyvardhan Rathore, cricketer Virendra Sehwag, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, BJP chief Amit Shah also joined in and extended their wishes to athletes for winning medals for India at the 18th Asian Games.
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