All this adulation and fanfare feels like a dream, says Swapna Barman

first_imgSwapna Barman, the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold, said she was now nervous and scared after her success because of the expectations building up around her. Swapna was present at India Today’s East Conclave 2018 and spoke of how her life changed overnight after her historic achievement.Swapna, former India cricket captain Jhulan Goswami and Indian hockey captain Rani Rampal spoke in the first session of the day: The Golden Stars – Fast, Fierce, Fantastic.Swapna was a little nervous to start off with. After being assured that every member of the audience at the India Today conclave was there to cheer for her and applaud her remarkable feat, Swapna opened up and said she was overawed by all the adulation.”I don’t know what to say. For me, the Asian Games medal was very important. It’s not just a job. I don’t know what to say.”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… What if I can’t deliver?”WATCH FULL SESSIONSwapna said she was surprised to see so many people waiting for her when she reached home.”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 mumma cried a lot.. I had not gone home for a year,” she said.Swapna is flooded with offers for advertisements, interviews now. People line up to meet with her, take selfies and autographs. Her life has literally changed overnight and the simple girl from Bengal is trying to make sense of all the adulation and fanfare.advertisement”Life has changed. I have not. People’s approach has changed… I had never thought – this is all a dream? Am I sleeping?”Also read – Swapna Barman on mother’s viral video: Even Prime Minister was talking about itWell, she is not. This is her reality. She is now a star.There were two other stars as well.Jhulan, the most successful ODI bowler in women’s cricket, spoke of her trials and tribulations. Starting off as a cricketer was not easy because her parents did not understand sports. But she persevered and strived hard.”I would like to thank India Today for inviting me. I was just chasing my dream. When I saw women playing cricket, I saw the India vs Australia match in 1997…. I thought I could represent India for 1 match, 1 over and get 1 wicket. I was chasing that dream and it was difficult to convince my family. They do not understand sports.Also read – People’s expectations motivating but scary, says Swapna Barman”When I played for India, when my captain gave me the first over… the entire responsibility on my shoulder.. I cannot take this sport for granted. I have to do well every day otherwise many players are waiting to take my place in the side,” she said.Rani, one of India’s most recognizable hockey stars, too recalled how she started off playing the sport.Also read – How hockey allowed Rani Rampal to build a nice home for her parentsI belong to Haryana. 15 years ago, girls were not even allowed to step out of their homes, forget about playing sports. When I told my parents I wanted to play hockey, they were shocked. They did not know anything about sports at all. They were under societal pressure. It was a big challenge for me that way. Besides, I belonged to a poor family. But my coach Sardar Baldev helped me in my career with shoes and hockey sticks. He wanted to bring up girls from poor backgrounds,” she said.Rani also said she never treated hockey like a profession. All she wanted to do was play the sport and help her parents build a good home. As a young girl, she remembered how her family home would be flood with rain water and her sole objective as a hockey player was to ensure the situation at home changed.Swapna, Jhulan and Rani Rampal recalled some stunning stories at the East Conclave 2018. Theirs is a story of human endurance, perseverance and sheer hard work.last_img

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