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Asian Games gold medallist Swapna Barman wants coach to help her achieve Olympics dream

Fixing Swapna Barman’s body will take precedence over everything. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi has offered to treat her according to reports, but she will be flying to Mumbai.

other sports Updated: Sep 13, 2018 08:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
asian games,asian games 2018,swapna barman
Swapna Barman being felicitated by Busan Games gold medallist Saraswati Saha. (Samir Jana / Hindustan Times)

This felicitation for Swapna Barman felt different because of the presence of another Asian Games gold medallist and a phone call from an Olympian who narrowly missed the podium in Rio.

“It is amazing that you have achieved this with so many injuries,” Dipa Karmakar told Barman over the phone from Agartala. “I would want you to do well in Tokyo now,” said Karmakar, who finished fourth in the 2016 Olympics and has struggled with fitness since. “I would want us to go to Tokyo together. You get well soon,” said Barman who got a cheque of Rs 51,000 for being India’s first heptathlon gold medallist at the Asian Games.

It sparked a conversation about Barman and the Olympics. “If sir shows me the way, I will start dreaming about it,” said Barman. Subash Sarkar, Barman’s heptathlon teacher and life coach, didn’t react.

That’s because now fixing Barman’s body will take precedence over everything. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi has offered to treat her, according to a report, but Sarkar said she would travel to Mumbai later this month for medical opinion on her Grade 3 meniscus tear. “Accordingly, her schedule will be planned. Hopefully, she will slowly get back to training early next year,” said Sarkar.

The coach said there are three major events in 2019; a national meet in February, the Asian championships in April and the world championships in September-October both in Doha. Barman’s participation would be contingent upon her recovery, said Sarkar. After that we will think about Olympic qualification, he said.

Sarkar said getting to the Olympic qualifying mark of 6200 wouldn’t be difficult, because Barman should aggregate 6400 points in two years (JJ Shobha’s national record stands at 6211). “Getting on the podium could mean going beyond 6800 and while nothing’s impossible, I don’t want to create false hopes. If she can retain her Asian Games gold that would be making history,” he said. The bronze in Rio went to Brianne Theisen Eaton with 6653 points, the gold to Nafissatou Thiam at 6810.

Among the things Barman needs working on are her runs --- 200m and 800m and the 100 hurdles --- and Sarkar said they would look at a sprint training coach next year.

Among those hearing the conversation being played over the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club’s public address system was Saraswati Saha, who won the 200m gold in the 2002 Asian Games. “I didn’t think I would have to wait 16 years for another one,” said Saha who felicitated Barman and Sarkar.

First Published: Sep 13, 2018 08:50 IST