I think injuries are lucky for me: Asiad gold medalist heptathlete Swapna Barman

Asian Games gold medallist heptathlete Swapna Barman on Friday said she will leave no stone unturned to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but achieving the qualification standard will be a tough task.

The 22-year-old has been out of action since April due to an injury (meniscus tear of the knee) but believes injuries are lucky for her. She will be back in action in January.

“I think injuries are lucky for me. If you look at the Asian Games even after all the injuries I got the gold. So I take injuries in a positive way.”

Talking about the upcoming World Championships Barman said, “There is a gap between the Asian and world level in athletics. But this time I think India’s performance at the World Championship will be good. There is a hope that we will do well.”

Like every athlete, I also dream of participating in Olympics: Barman, who has six toes on each feet, became the first Indian to win a heptathlon gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games. “Like every athlete, I also dream of participating in the Olympics,” Barman said.

“I am not sure if I’ll be able to do it but I will do everything possible, I will try my best. I have to improve a little in all the [seven] events and then I qualify.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations has set the qualifying mark for the women’s heptathlon event at 6,420 aggregate points from the seven events, which is 220 more than the Rio Olympics qualifying standard of 6,200.

This time the qualification has been set very high: Barman’s personal best is 6,026 points. The Olympic qualification will be decided based on ranking points in international events from May 2019 to June 2020. “This time the qualification has been set very high. Athletes from Asia are not able to achieve it,” Barman said.

According to IAAF rules, athletes can qualify by achieving the entry standard within the qualification period or through world ranking position at the end of the qualification period if all the slots of the required number of competitors for an event are not filled up.