The other standout gold-winning performance was by Swapna Barman in the women’s heptathlon, the first ever by an Indian. Barman combined endurance with an indomitable will in an event where the heptathlete has to compete in a gruelling mix of seven track and field disciplines. Teen sensation Hima Das from Dhing in Assam who only in July was crowned the under-20 champion after winning the 400-metres race at the World Junior Athletics Championships in 2018 in Finland, ran bravely to win silver in Jakarta in the same event. On way to her medal Das set two national records in two days. She also helped the Indian 4x400 metres quartet bag gold at the Games. In a befitting reply to her detractors, Dutee Chand, 22, originally from Jajpur, Odisha, won silver in both the 100-metres and 200-metres races. In 2014, Chand had been dropped from the Indian Commonwealth Games contingent by the Athletic Federation of India on the grounds that hyper-androgenism had made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete. It was an abject humiliation and a cruel blow to her career prospects. The move received wide criticism from across the globe. A Canadian firm represented her in a pro bono case and eventually for lack of evidence the AFI ruling was lifted. She returned to the tracks in 2016.
There are several other stories of interest in this issue.
Here’s hoping you have a good read