Being born with six fingers on each foot did not prevent Swapna Barman from India winning the heptathlon of the Asian Games 2018, but immediately called for shoes that really fit. Barman led the last of the seven heptathlon disciplines, the 800 meters, his weakest event, and managed to stay despite being in fourth place since his closest rival was last. The Indian athlete, who still has a whole dozen toes, said that every step of the race had been unbearable when she pushed through the pain barrier in her badly fitting footwear.
"Normal shoes do not work for me, there's a lot of pain when I use any shoe, nails or anything," he said after getting gold on Wednesday.
"I hope they make special shoes for me because I have a lot of pain."
"Even warming shoes hurt, so forget the spikes."
Barman, 21, jumped on the scene last year to take the gold in the Asian Championship in India.
She then suffered a series of ankle and back injuries that kept her out for most of the year, but she returned in time to finish second in the Asian Games qualifiers in India.
In Jakarta he won his specialized height jump, as well as the shot and the javelin, to register a better personal score of 6,026, despite his problems on the track.
From a poor family in the city of Jalpaiguri, east of India, he said he has never considered surgery to remove the extra digits, blaming the extra width of his feet for the pain.
His feet were not his only concern as he ran toward victory on Wednesday night; He also had to deal with a sharp toothache, which he blames his sweet tooth.
"I used to eat a lot of chocolates, so I have a lot of pain in one of my teeth before the start of the competition," he told reporters, with a heavy bang on his chin.
"The first day I thought I could not do it because there was a lot of pain, but I had to do it because of all these days of hard work."