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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Queen of Indian track and field


Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha(born June 27, 1964), popularly known as P. T. Usha, is an Indian athlete from the state of Kerala. P. T. Usha has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. She is regarded as one of the greatest athletes India has ever produced and is often called the "queen of Indian track and field".She is nicknamed Payyoli Express. Currently she runs the Usha School of Athletics at Koyilandy in Kerala.

Her Quote:"I feel something is missing in my life if I am not running."

P. T. Usha was born in the village of Payyoli, Kozhikode District, Kerala. In 1976 the Kerala State Government started a Sports School for women, and Usha was chosen to represent her district.
In 1979 she participated in the National School Games, where she was noticed by O. M. Nambiar, who coached her throughout her career. Her debut in the 1980 Moscow Olympics proved lacklustre. In the 1982 New Delhi Asiad, she got silver medal in the 100 m and the 200 m, but at the Asian Track and Field Championship in Kuwait a year later, Usha took gold in the 400 m with a new Asian record . Between 1983-89, Usha garnered 13 golds at ATF meets. She finished first in the semi-finals of the 400 metres hurdles in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, but faltered in the finals. In almost a repeat of Milkha Singh's 1960 feat, there was a nail-biting photo finish for the third place. Usha lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second. She became the first Indian woman (and the fifth Indian) to reach the final of an Olympic event by winning her 400 m hurdles Semi-final.

In the 10th Asian Games held at Seoul in 1986, P. T. Usha won 4 gold and 1 silver medal in the track and field events. Here she created new Asian Games records in all the events she participated.She won five golds at the 6th Asian Track and Field Championship at Jakarta in 1985. Her six medals at the same meet is a record for a single athlete in a single international meet.Usha has won 101 international medals so far. She is employed as an officer in the Southern Railways. In 1985, she was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna award.

Usha retired from Athletics and married V.Srinivasan in the year 1991, but to the surprise of everybody she made a sudden comeback in the year 1998 and won Bronze Medals in 200m and 400m races at the Asian Track Federation Meet held at Fukkowakka in Japan. At the age of 34 years, P.T. Usha improved her own timing in 200m race and set a new National Record, which was enough to prove the level of Athletic talent still lying inside her.  

World Record:

During the 1985 Asian Track & Field Meet at Jakarta, Indonesia, Usha secured 5 gold medals in the 100, 200, and 400 meter sprints, the 400 meter hurdles, and the 4 x 400 meter relay. She also earned a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay. This is the current record for most gold medals earned by a female in a single track meet.

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