Sport apparel giant Adidas will design and deliver specially made athletic shoes for Asian Games gold-medallist Swapna Barman from India. This is because this celebrated athlete has 12-toed feet. This will be done in collaboration with the sports governing body of the countr – the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
“After coming to know about Swapna’s case, the Sports Minister immediately directed us from Jakarta to get customised shoes made for her. We have taken up the matter with Adidas and they have agreed to provide the footwear,” SAI Director General Neelam Kapur told the media.
This condition of the athlete – who was born with six toes on both her feet, was revealed only after she became the first Indian athlete to win an Asiad gold in heptathlonl in the recently held 18th edition of the Asian games in Indonesia where she competed with the best in the continent and the world to clock her career best performance.
“Right from the time I was a kid, I’ve never been able to find a pair that fits me,” Burman reportedly had told ESPN afterthe gold wining performance. “When I run in shoes, it hurts. When I wear spikes, it is even more painful.”
Following the historic win, the athlete made an emotional appeal to provide her with customized shoes so that she could perform better, the matter was immediately taken up by the concerned sports authorities in India.
Details of the specification of Burman’s feet such as size, pressure points and drawings have already been sought by Adidas through the SAI for the customized sports shoes. This was confirmed top the media by the coach of Burman.
However, there are allegations that request for such customized shoes were placed by the athlete with the SAI before the Asian games but the requests were over looked. It was only after her historic performance at the Asian games and an emotional appeal by the athlete herself did the sports authorities take not of the problem.
As a child Burman wanted to become a high jumper, but was later suggested she would do well if she shifted to the heptathlon event where she had to run 100-meter hurdles, 200 meters, 800 meters and take part in shot put, high jump, long jump and javelin throw.
This switching was a successful but a physically painful one for Burman and she did well as the youngest competitor in the heptathlon discipline in the 2014 Asian Games.
“Every time she ran, the movement hurt her. If it was any other athlete but her, she would have quit,” said her coach, Subhash Sarkar.
But now with the global sport equipment maker Adidas agreeing to design customized shoes for her feet, Burman hopes that she could do perform better
(Adapted from TheIndianExpress.com & WashingtonPost.com)