Chennai: Asian Games gold medallist heptathlete Swapna Barman may soon find her problem sorted as Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) are in talks with footwear giants Nike to design customised shoes for her. Swapna by birth has six toes on both feet and has often found it very painful to wear normal shoes. Learning about her plight, ICF General Manager S Mani, instructed the Sports Branch to immediately arrange to get the custom-made shoes and ensure that they reach Barman at the earliest.
Subsequently, ICF’s Sports Branch officials contacted Nike for arranging supply of such special custom-made shoes for Barman, sources said. As the size of her shoes needs to be ascertained, they are now in touch with the Indian High Commission officials in Jakarta and also AFI officials to ascertain the same. Since the Heptathlon event consists of seven different activities such as 100 metres hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw and 800 metres, it requires the athlete to use at least five different types of shoes for these 7 events.
Hence, ICF will be arranging a complete set comprising these five types of shoes, to be presented to Barman. Though the West Bengal athlete does not belong to the broad Indian Railways Sports fraternity, as a measure of goodwill and in recognition of her feat in bringing laurels to the country, ICF has decided to present her with the custom-made shoes, the sources said. The ICF, which is the largest manufacturer of coaches for the Indian Railways, has also contributed significantly for the development of sports by establishing state-of-the-art infrastructure and many of its players/teams have bagged top positions in the national sports arena.