Swapna Barman to travel to Mumbai for medical treatment
KOLKATA: Asian Games gold medallist heptathlete Swapna Barman will travel to Mumbai around September 24 to undergo a series of medical tests which will determine whether she requires a surgery.
Swapna, who became the first Indian heptathlete to win a gold in the Asian Games, had been facing back problems since the 2017 Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar where she clinched gold. She has suffered from a Grade 3 meniscus tear too.
During the event at the Asian Games this time, Swapna fought off a toothache and a stiff challenge from China's Wang Qingling to claim gold in the heptathlon event with an aggregate of 6026 points, which is also a landmark as she crossed the 6000-point mark in the Asian Games competition.
"I will go to Mumhai around the 24th of this month. I will undergo an MRI scan and then will take a call on whether I reuire a surgery or rehabilitation will do," Swapna told reporters at a felicitation programme by the Calcutta Sports Journalists Club here.
Swapna, who cannot travel to Mumbai now due the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival, said recuperating from her injury is the top priority and that she won't be taking part in any major competition this year and the next.
"I want to be fully fit before taking the field again. I have suffered a lot as Asian Games gold was my target, but now since I have time I have to heal my recurring injury. Otherwise, it can get worse," the 21-year old said.
Long-time coach Subhas Sarkar, seated beside her, stressed that any major competition in the next one year can end her career.
"She has been having problems at her lumbar (lower back) region since 2017 and I know how she performed braving pain in Jakarta. She needs to recover first and then resume practice. Otherwise she can hamper her career as this is serious."
Asked about her next target, Subhas said bagging another Asian Games gold four years later is the aim and realistically they are not thinking of an Olympics medal just now.
"The target is to win successive Asian Games gold which has not happened before. As far as Olympics is concerned, the qualification mark is 6200 points. She needs to achieve that first."
Subhas also said that Swapna needs to work on her speed which is a weak spot and for that they are looking at a training academy in Bangalore where she can get better.
The heptathlon, which is a seven-event contest and covers a range of track and field events over two days, comprises 100m, 200m and 800m hurdles among other events.
Quizzed if she has plans to train abroad, Swapna said she has the option as there are a few offers and is also part of the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme but at the moment she is content training under Subhas.
"If I could win gold despite the odds at the Asian Games training under Sir, I am in good hands. So I am not thinking of training abroad right now but let's see in the future. I have a few offers and I am part of the TOP scheme too."
A video message from star gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who missed bronze by a whisker at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was also played before the start of the felicitation programme.