Have you ever worn shoes that are not your size? Let’s say you have. Imagine running in those uncomfortable shoes all your life. Now take your imagination a little further, you have to compete in the Asian Games. At the same time, all hopes are pinned on you for a medal. Swapna Barman did all that to win a gold medal in the heptathlon in Asian Games 2018.
When Barman sets foot on the track, she does not have to compete with other athletes but also battle with the pain she suffers every time her feet touches the ground. Each and every pair of shoes she has worn till now has either been too loose or too tight, either way, they were not meant for competitive sports.
Few local shoemakers tried to help her but all of their efforts could not result in the perfect shoes for her. In 2015, para-athlete Suvarna Raj even launched a petition asking brands like Nike and Adidas to make custom made shoes for her.
Unfortunately, no help came from the big brands. Maybe if she was as big a personality as cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, she could have had custom-made shoes made especially for her. But, she is an athlete from India struggling to squeeze her feet in the shoes.
Maybe now that she has won the gold medal while suffering from a toothache, fever and whatnot, major shoe brands may pay some heed to her plea.
Here’s what she had to say after winning the gold medal, “It pains all the time, I’ve struggled to get shoes for my six toes all my life. It’s bad with shoes, it’s worse with spikes.”