Hangzhou, October 1
The toast of the nation in the last edition, Indian heptathlete Swapna Barman’s one “last shot” at glory at the Asian Games turned into a nightmare as she struggled with injuries to virtually go out of medal reckoning after the javelin throw event.
The defending champion, who boasts of a personal best of 52.55m in javelin throw, managed a throw of just 45.13 in the penultimate event of the gruelling two-day competition.
Javelin throw was one of the two events Swapna had won in 2018 en route to becoming the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold.
Overall, Swapna was ranked fourth with 4,840 points, 11 points behind her nearest rival Jingyi Liu of China ahead of the 800m race, which is the last segment of the seven-event competition.
The other Indian in the fray, Nandini Agasara notched a personal best of 39.88m in javelin throw that took her overall ranking to fifth place.
Earlier in the day, Swapna Barman leapt 5.71m in the long jump, while Nandini Agasara had a season-best 5.94m jump.
With her career ravaged by a spinal injury, the six-toed Indian athlete had contemplated retirement last year. But she took one last shot at glory and came to Hanghzou in her title defence bid.
This year she won the Inter-State meet and also bagged a silver medal in the build-up to the Asian Games. She also avoided surgery so as to ensure that she does not miss her training despite a bad back.
“But her body condition could not cope up and she failed to get a good start,” her coach Subhash Sarkar told PTI.
“She was expecting a good result in high jump but a fourth place finish shattered her and she couldn’t recover from there,” he added.
Swapna had a jump of 1.70m, which was nowhere close to her personal best of 1.87.
“The poor start has affected her morale and it showed in today’s javelin throw event. It’s as good as over,” Sarkar said of Swapna’s prospects this time.
Earlier, India’s Amlan Borgohain finished at the third position after clocking 21.08 seconds in the men’s 200m heats and advanced to the semifinal.
The first three athletes in each heat make the cut for the semi-finals. The top four times from all the heats who have not made the cut will also advance to the semifinals.
The sprinter from Assam, currently the country’s fastest, holds both the men’s 100m and 200m national records.
However, Jyothi Yarraji failed to make the cut for the women’s 200m final. The Indian had a timing of 23.78s.
Yarraji, however, is in contention for a medal in women’s 100m hurdles.
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