Swapna wants govt help to get a house near training base in Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised Swapna Barman ₹10 lakh and a government job, a day after she scripted history by winning India’s first-ever heptathlon gold medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta.

Barman said that the turning point in her career was in 2015 when she left home with a lot of frustration and did not return for three months.   -  Getty Images

Asian Games gold medallist heptathlete Swapna Barman on Friday refused to comment on the ₹10 lakh reward announced by the West Bengal government, but said that she would love to have a house in the city near her training base.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised Barman ₹10 lakh and a government job, a day after she scripted history by winning India’s first-ever heptathlon gold medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta.

The announcement had come in for a lot of criticism with Haryana offering ₹3 crore to each of its gold medalists, while neighbouring Odisha also announced ₹3 crore to sprinter Dutee Chand, who won two silver medals.

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“I have no comments. I have heard that the government has promised jobs to me and my brother. I have got a lot of offers and I am yet to decide,” Barman told reporters on the sidelines of her felicitation function at the SAI complex.

Asked whether she has anything she wants from the state government, she said: “My only wish is to have a permanent residence near the SAI complex (in Salt Lake). I stay at the SAI complex now, but if my performance is not there, I won’t have a place to stay. So, it would be hugely beneficial if the government could help me get a house.”

Barman said that the turning point in her career was in 2015 when she left home with a lot of frustration and did not return for three months.

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“Sir (Subhash Sarkar) called me several times and urged me to come back to Jalpaiguri. I am very short-tempered. I had almost given up, but I returned only for Sir. This day would not have come if I did not listen to him that day,” she recalled.

Asked about the winning moment in Jakarta, Barman said that it was while running the 800m she realised that she was going to clinch the gold.

The SAI Eastern Centre also felicitated other Asian Games participants, gymnasts Pranati Das, Mandira Hazra Chowdhury and Pranati Nayak, as well as handball goalkeeper Nina Shil.