Heptathlete wins Asian gold with 12 toes
Being born with six toes on each foot didn’t stop India’s Swapna Barman winning the Asian Games heptathlon -- but she immediately issued a plea for shoes that actually fit. Barman led going into the last of the seven heptathlon disciplines, the 800m -- her weakest event -- and managed to cling on despite a fourth-placed finish as her closest rival came in last. The Indian athlete, who still has all dozen of her toes, said every step of the race had been excruciating as she pushed through the pain barrier in her ill-fitting footwear. ‘Normal shoes don’t work for me. There is lot of pain when I wear any shoe, spikes or anything,’ she said after clinching gold late on Wednesday. ‘I hope they make special shoes for me because I have a lot of pain.’ ‘Even warm-up shoes hurt, so forget about spikes.’ Barman, 21, shot to attention last year by taking gold at the Asian Championships in India.
Race-walker collapses after 50km of heat, smog
Indonesia’s Hendro said it was a ‘miracle’ to even finish the 50km race walk in Jakarta’s brutal pollution, heat and humidity Thursday after he was carried from the finish line on a stretcher. Hendro collapsed after pounding the Indonesian capital’s smoggy streets for more than four-and-a-half hours in 31 Celsius (88 Fahrenheit) heat to finish last, in the Asian Games’ slowest 50km (31 miles) walk for nearly three decades. The air quality index in central Jakarta hit 163 on Thursday morning. A reading of more than 150 is considered a health threat to the general population. After being doused in ice water by medics Hendro, 28, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was carried to the medical centre shouting incoherently with pain. ‘The race was so difficult -- the hot weather, humidity, and not just the humidity but the pollution,’ he said after recovering. ‘Racing here is not easy. This is Indonesia.’ ‘This is a miracle for me I can finish. This is a miracle,’ he added. Hayato Katsuki of Japan took gold with 4:03:30 -- 23 minutes slower than the last Asian Games -- with a well-judged race, after making holes in his vest to improve ventilation.
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