She is as practical as they get. And that is the reason Swapna Barman says that while her two-gold effort in the National Games Athletics competition at the IIT Gandhinagar campus gives her happiness, she is not satisfied with her own performance in her favourite event, the Heptathlon.
She claimed the High Jump gold with a Games record clearance of 1.83m and added gold in the gruelling seven-event contest spread over two days.
“After winning a surprise gold in the High Jump, which I had not trained for, I did not complete my recovery as well as I wanted to. That affected my Heptathlon performance,” the 25-year-old said.
Swapna Barman topped three events – 100m Hurdles and High Jump on the first day and Javelin Throw yesterday – and was second best in Shot Put and Long Jump to insure against her weak efforts in the 200m at the end of the opening day and 800m, the final event of the competition.
The 2018 Asian Games champion and 2019 Asian Championships silver medallist hinted that not having support staff was a reason. “Since I do not have a sponsor to fund a trainer and physiotherapist, I tried to complete the recovery process myself. But I guess that was not enough and I felt drained of energy when I reported to the call room for Heptathlon,” she said.
This year, Swapna chose to compete for Madhya Pradesh in the National Games rather than her home State, West Bengal for whom she won the Heptathlon gold and High Jump silver back in the 2015 National Games in Thiruvananthapuram. She said one of the reasons for the shift was that her long-time coach Subhash Sarkar may relocate to Madhya Pradesh upon retirement in January.
“I am a proud daughter of Bengal, and I am a proud Indian. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” the Railways employee added, cryptically. “It does not matter which colour jersey I wear. What matters to me is the performance. And considering that I want to win the Asian Games again, I must say I was not satisfied with my score here.”
She is okay with being criticised for not aspiring to compete in the Olympic Games and World Championships. “It is not as if I am shy of hard work, but I am aware of the reality that rising to world class levels in Heptathlon is not easy. I will continue to train hard for the continental competitions and hope to win the Asian Games gold again,” she said.
Swapna Barman has topped the 6000-point mark once, when she secured 6026 at the Asian Games in Jakarta. She missed that milestone by 7 points in the Asian Championships in Doha. She is confident that she can prime herself up to get the National record, pegged at 6211 points by JJ Shobha 18 years ago. “I know it is within my reach and I will try to get it,” she added.