Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, born on June 27, 1964, is a renowned retired Indian track and field athlete hailing from Koothali near Perambra in Kozhikode district, Kerala. Often referred to as the “Queen of Indian track and field,” Usha has left an indelible mark on the world of athletics. Let’s delve into the extraordinary journey of P. T. Usha, from her early years in Payyoli to becoming a celebrated figure in Indian sports.
Early Life and Introduction to Athletics
P. T. Usha’s tryst with destiny began in 1977 when she caught the eye of O. M. Nambiar, a prominent Indian athletics coach, at a sports prize-distribution ceremony. Nambiar was immediately struck by Usha’s lean physique and swift walking style, envisioning her potential as a formidable sprinter. Under his guidance, Usha flourished, winning six medals at the inter-state meet for juniors in 1978, including gold in 100m, 200m, 60m hurdles, and high jump.
Rise to Stardom
Her success continued at the 1979 National Games and 1980 National inter-state meet, where she set numerous records. In 1981, at the senior inter-country meeting in Bangalore, Usha set national records in both 100m and 200m. The 1982 New Delhi Asian Games saw her clinch silver medals in 100m and 200m, marking the beginning of her dominance in Asian athletics.
Glorious Moment at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics P.T. Usha
P. T. Usha’s defining moment came at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Despite initial setbacks in the 100m and 200m events, she refocused on the 400m hurdles. Usha set a new Commonwealth record in the heats and semi-final, but a fourth-place finish in the final, by a mere 1/100th of a second, left her narrowly missing the podium. Nevertheless, her tenacity and skill garnered widespread admiration.
Asian Championships Triumphs P.T. Usha
The year 1985 witnessed Usha’s stellar performance at the Jakarta Asian Championships, where she clinched an unprecedented six medals, including five gold and one bronze. Notably, she set an Asian record in the 400m and achieved the remarkable feat of most gold medals at a single event in the history of the championships. Her success continued at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, where she secured multiple gold medals, setting new Games records.
Later Stages and Records P.T. Usha
From 1983 to 1989, P. T. Usha amassed 13 gold medals at ATF meets. Her outstanding achievements at the 10th Asian Games in Seoul in 1986 included four gold medals and one silver. Usha’s medals at the 6th Asian Track and Field Championship in Jakarta in 1985 remain unparalleled for a single athlete in a single international meet. Currently, she serves as the committee head of the Indian Talent organization, conducting National Level Indian Talent Olympiad examinations in schools across India.
Personal Life and Achievements P.T. Usha
P. T. Usha pursued her education at Providence Women’s College in Kozhikode. In 1991, she married V. Srinivasan, an English inspector with the Central Industrial Security Force, and the couple has a son, Dr. Vignesh Ujjwal. Usha’s contributions extend beyond the track; she is an advisor on the Board of Advisors of India’s International Movement to Unite Nations (I.I.M.U.N.).
Awards and Honors P.T. Usha
P. T. Usha’s outstanding contributions to Indian athletics have earned her several accolades, including the prestigious Padma Shri in 1985. She holds honorary doctorates from Kannur University (2000), IIT Kanpur (2017), and the University of Calicut (2018). In 2019, she was awarded the IAAF Veteran Pin. Usha’s dedication to athletics and leadership qualities were further recognized when she was elected president of the Indian Olympic Association unopposed in December 2022.
Record-breaking Performances P.T. Usha
Throughout her illustrious career, P. T. Usha participated in various international competitions, setting records and leaving an indelible mark on Indian athletics. Notable achievements include her participation in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where she set a Commonwealth record, and her extraordinary performance at the 1985 Jakarta Asian Championships.
Legacy and Continued Influence P.T. Usha
Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha’s impact on Indian athletics extends beyond her competitive years. As the first nominated Member of Parliament to become the Vice Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, she continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of sports in India. Usha’s legacy serves as an inspiration for aspiring athletes, and her commitment to breaking records has left an enduring mark on the history of Indian track and field. P.T. Usha
In conclusion, P. T. Usha’s journey from a young athlete noticed at a prize distribution ceremony to the “Queen of Indian track and field” is a testament to her unparalleled skill, determination, and resilience. Her contributions to Indian sports, both on and off the track, have solidified her status as a legendary figure in the realm of athletics. P.T. Usha
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What is PT Usha famous for?
Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, widely known as PT Usha, stands as one of India’s preeminent athletes and is frequently hailed as the “queen of track and field” in the nation. Renowned for her elegant sprinting style characterized by long strides, she held sway over Asian track-and-field competitions throughout the majority of the 1980s, securing a remarkable total of 23 medals, including 14 golds.