KOLKATA, Oct 5: Winning the first ever Asian Games heptathlon gold medal changed her life as she became a star but Swapna Barman on Friday said she sometimes get nervous and scared of the people�s high expectations.
An unknown face before the Asian Games, the Jalpaiguri heptathlete became a star overnight after she battled toothache and back pain to become the first Indian to win a heptathlon gold in Jakarta in August.
�Life has changed but I have not changed. People�s approach has changed. I sometimes feel I am dreaming or sleeping,� Swapna said at the India Today�s East Conclave 2018 here. �I am scared now. Earlier my parents and coach wanted me to win, to do well. Now, all my countrymen want me to win an Olympic medal. That expectation makes me nervous... Thinking what if I can�t deliver,� she said.
Swapna achieved a career-best aggregate of 6026 points but for her to be on the Olympics podium she has to raise the bar to 6700-plus. That will certainly be a tough job. The qualifying mark for Rio 2016 was 6200 points.
Her coach Subhas Sarkar had pointed this out and said retaining her Asian Games gold medal in 2022 is a more realistic target than eyeing a podium finish in the 2020 Olympics. �I do get motivated that everyone is watching but it also scares me if I will be able to do well or not but my coach is there with me, he will make me practice. I will practice even more for Olympics and if I have everyone�s blessings, I will do well,� Swapna said.
She returned home near Jalpaiguri after a gap of about one year and she said she was surprised to see so many people waiting for her to receive her.
�When I reached home, I did not expect so many people would come to meet me. I did not even think someone would cry for me. My mother cried a lot, I had not gone home for a year,� she said. � PTI