Swapna Barman scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win gold in the heptathlon event the Asian Games. Purnima Hembram, who was the other Indian in action, narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing fourth with 5837 points. Barman ended the competition with 6026 points.
India's previous best display in the heptathlon event had come through Soma Biswas, who had won silver in the 2002 and 2006 Asian Games. China's Qingling Wang won silver with 5954 points while Japan's Yuki Yamasaki won bronze with a tally of 5873 points.
Barman hails from Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal and often has the toughest time in finding competition shoes that fit. Born with six toes in both feet, Barman's primary worry ahead of major competitions is about getting the right footwear, particularly for jump events. The extra width of her feet makes landing painful and shoes wear out quickly. On her debut at the Asian Games as teenager four years ago, she had finished fifth with total of 5178 points.
Barman, who won gold at the Asian Athletics championships last year, hasn't had the most comfortable years growing up. Her father, a rickshaw puller has been bedridden for the last few years, and she had to pull through some tough times to make it to her second Games appearance.
The heptathlon is a seven-event contest which covers a range of track and field events and is spread over two days. The first day comprises 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m, while day two has long jump, javelin and 800m. In Heptathlon, which replaced the women's pentathlon in the Olympic Games after 1981, competitors are scored for their performance in each event and the 7000-point barrier has only been breached by four women so far, with American athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee having her name against it on six out of the total ten occasions.
Arpinder Singh wins India's first triple jump gold in 48 years
Arpinder Singh became the first Indian in 48 years to win gold in the triple jump event at the Asian Games after jumping a distance of 16.77m in the final on Wednesday. Uzbekistan's Ruslan Kurbanov won silver with a jump of 16.62m while China's Shuo Cao won bronze (16.56m).
India's previous two golds in the triple jump event had come through Mohinder Singh Rai and Mohinder Singh Gill in 1958 and 1970 respectively. AV Rakesh Babu, the other Indian in action, finished sixth with a jump of 16.40m.
Arpinder won the event in a tough field that had pedigreed Chinese jumpers like Zhu Yaming and Cao Shuo, with personal bests of 17.23 and 17.35 respectively. Zhu is the reigning Asian champion, while Cao had finished fourth at the Rio Olympics.
Both, however had lower season bests, hovering in the 16m range, as opposed to Arpinder's superior 17.09m. Four years ago, Arpinder burst onto the scene with a 17.17m leap, breaking the national record and then going on to pick up a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Thereafter, a training base shift to London didn't work too well for him and he failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016. The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games this year didn't turn out to be as lucky for Arpinder as he narrowly missed out on a bronze having stayed in third-place contention for the most part of the competition with a best effort of 16.46m, before Cameron's Marcel Mayack II overtook him in his last attempt with a distance of 16.80.
Dutee Chand wins 200m silver
Earlier, Dutee Chand won her second silver at this year's Asian Games after finishing second in the women's 200m final on Wednesday in Jakarta. Chand clocked a time of 23.20 seconds to finish behind Bahrain's Edidiong Odiong, who won gold with a time of 22.96 seconds.
Chand had earlier won silver in the 100m event, where Odiong had pipped her at the end in a photo finish. Chand became the first Indian woman in 32 years to medal in both 100m and 200m events at an Asian Games. PT Usha had achieved that feat in 1986 when she won silver in the 100m and gold in the 200m and 400m events.
China's Yonglei Wei won bronze with a time of 23.20 seconds. Chand had earlier qualified for the final after finishing top of the standings in the semi-finals with a time of 23.00 seconds. Odiong was second fastest in the semis with a time of 23.01 seconds.
Chand won two medals after being told in 2014, that the biological nature of her body meant she couldn't even be an athlete. She fought it and earned the right to compete again."Badla liya hai, (I have taken my revenge)" she had said after her silver in the 100m.
"I had so much problems in 2014. So many people were saying such bad things about me. But I fought my case and returned and won a medal. People were thinking badly about me but now people are happy that I won a medal for the country."