Swapna Barman Photograph:( Reuters )
Indian heptathlete Swapna Barman, who was born with six toes on each foot, will receive special custom-made shoes after a Chennai-based company was touched to hear the pain she suffered while running in the heptathlon at the 2018 Asian Games. Barman made the nation proud by winning a gold.
After her victory, the 21-year-old spoke about how her rare deformity caused agony with each step in her final event, the 800m.
A government-run enterprise in the southern city of Chennai has now come forward to help Barman get customised shoes.
Barman comes from an impoverished family in the West Bengal city of Jalpaiguri and her plight has touched the nation.
Her rickshaw-puller father has been bedridden for several years since suffering a stroke.
Her mother Basana Devi left her job as a tea garden worker to look after her husband.
The West Bengal government has promised a reward of Rs 10 lakh and a government job for Barman.
Barman shot to prominence last year by winning the Asian Championships in India before suffering a string of injuries that kept her out for nearly a year. But she came back in time to finish second in India’s Asian Games qualifiers.
In Jakarta she won her specialist high jump, the shot put and javelin, to record a personal best score of 6,026.
Besides her shoe woes, Barman also had to contend with a toothache and ran with a taped jaw.