KOLKATA, Aug 30: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today announced a cash award of Rs 10 lakh and a government job for Swapna Barman, who won India�s first-ever Asian Games gold medal in heptathlon.
Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb today called on Swapna�s family in Jalpaiguri and made her mother speak to the Chief Minister on phone, West Bengal Athletic Association secretary Kamal Maitra told PTI.
�The CM announced a cash award of Rs 10 lakh and a government job for Swapna. The minister (Deb) spent about half an hour at Swapna�s house, and also assured them full support,� Maitra said.
Swapna is likely to return around September 3-4 and the WBAA are also planning to felicitate the golden girl from Jalpaiguri, Maitra added.
The 21-year-old from Jalpaiguri scripted history in Jakarta when she achieved her personal best score of 6026 points in the seven-event competition to earn India a first heptathlon gold in Asian Games.
Wishes poured in from all quarters including Bengal icon Sourav Ganguly, who congratulated Swapna on his official Twitter handle.
�Congratulations to Swapna Burman @Swapna_Barman96.. For her gold.. We in India and Bengal are so happy and proud,� Ganguly wrote.
Swapna is yet another story in Indian Olympic sports that has seen her battle poverty and physical difficulty to run with ill-fitting shoes that always pinch the six toes on each of her feet.
One of the four children of her parents, her story is a story of survival.
Her father Panchanan Barman pulled rickshaw van till a stroke forced him to stay at home, while mother Basana Devi worked as a maid and plucked leaves in tea garden.
Seeing his youngest daughter Swapna�s interest in sport, her father Panchanan Barman, used to fix bamboo sticks on the field in the backyard of his tin-roofed house for her to practice high jump. � PTI