Asian Games gold medallist Swapna Barman will have customized shoes for her 12-toed feet soon as the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has tied up with footwear company Adidas to ensure specially-designed gear for the heptathlete.
“After coming to know about Swapna’s case, the Sports Minister immediately directed us from Jakarta to get customized shoes made for her. We have taken up the matter with Adidas and they have agreed to provide the footwear,” SAL Director General Neelam Kapur said.
Born with six toes in both her feet, Swapan’s plight came to light only after she became the first Indian athlete to win an Asiad gold in the heptathlon with a career-best performance in the 18thedition of the Games in Jakarta last month.
After her victory, the athlete made an emotional appeal for customized shoes and the SAI immediately sprung into action after Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore directed the concerned authorities to take up the matter on an urgent basis.
The SAI has already sent a communication to Swapna’s coach Subash Sarkar at its Centre of Excellence in Kolkata, asking for specifications, such as size, pressure points and drawings for the customized spikes.
Barman confirmed that he got a mali from the SAL headquarters in New Delhi On Thursday, seeking the necessary details required for the shoes.
“Yes, I got a communication from SAL, Delhi asking for prepare Swapana’s customized shoes. I am yet to meet Swapna as she is injured but I will provide the details soon once I meet her,” Sarkar said from Kolkata.
Sarkar said he had told SAI officials about the need for customized shoes for Swapana just before the Asian Games but the matter gained importance only after her victory.
From Online Sources