P. T. Usha

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P. T. Usha
Native name Pilavullakandi
Born Pilavullakandi Thekkera parambil Usha[1]
(1964-06-27) 27 June 1964 (age 52)
Payyoli, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Residence Payyoli, Kozhikode
Nationality India
Other names Payyoli Express, Golden Girl
Occupation track and field athlete
Employer Indian Railways
Known for Padma Shri
Height 5' 7" (170 cm)
Spouse(s) V. Srinivasan
Children Ujjwal
Parent(s) Paithal, Lakshmi
Website ptusha.org
Signature of P. T. Usha.svg

Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (born 27 June 1964), popularly known as P.T. Usha, is an Indian track and field athlete from the state of Kerala. P.T. Usha has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979.[2] She is regarded as one of the greatest athletes India has ever produced and is often called the "queen of Indian track and field".[3] She is nicknamed as the Payyoli Express. Currently she runs the Usha School of Athletics at Koyilandy in Kerala. 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, P.T. Usha 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 Asian Games, she got the silver medal in the 100m and the 200m, but at the Asian Track and Field Championship(ATF) in Kuwait a year later, Usha took the gold in the 400m with a new Asian record[citation needed] . From 1983–89, Usha garnered 13 golds at ATF meets.

At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she finished first in the semi-finals of the 400 metres hurdles, but narrowly missed a medal in the finals, reminiscent of Milkha Singh's 1960 defeat. There was a nail-biting photo finish for the third place.[4] Usha lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second.

In the 10th Asian Games held at Seoul in 1986, P. T. Usha won 4 gold medals and 1 silver medal in the track and field events. She also won five gold medals at the 6th Asian Track and Field Championship in Jakarta in 1985. Her medals at the same meet is a record for a single athlete in a single international meet.[citation needed]

Usha has won 101 international medals so far. She is employed as an officer in the Southern Railways. In 1984, she was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award.

Currently she coaches young athletes at her training academy in Kerala, including Tintu Lukka, who qualified for the women's semi-final 800m at the London 2012 Olympics.


P. T. Usha
Medal record
Women's athletics
Asian Games
Gold medal – first place 1986 Seoul 200 metres
Gold medal – first place 1986 Seoul 400 metres
Gold medal – first place 1986 Seoul 400 metres hurdles
Gold medal – first place 1986 Seoul 4x400 metres relay
Silver medal – second place 1982 New Delhi 100 metres
Silver medal – second place 1982 New Delhi 200 metres
Silver medal – second place 1986 Seoul 100 metres
Silver medal – second place 1990 Beijing 400 metres
Silver medal – second place 1990 Beijing 4x100 metres relay
Silver medal – second place 1994 Hiroshima 4x400 metres relay
  • Set a national record at the state athletic meet at Kottayam, 1977.
  • Captured the limelight as a junior athlete in the National inter-state meet at Kollam, 1978.
  • Participated in the Moscow Olympics, 1980.
  • Became the first Indian woman to reach the final of an Olympic event.
  • Became the youngest Indian sprinter, aged 16, to compete in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
  • Participated in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games.
  • Tried the 400m for the first time at the 1983 Asian Track and Field Meet (re-christened as the Asian championship) at Kuwait. She emerged successful in the one-lapper in an international arena for the first time.
  • Achieved a record of 55.42 seconds at Los Angeles, the very first time the 400m hurdles was added to the women's athletics. This is the current Indian national record.[5]
  • Won 5 gold medals and 1 bronze in 1985, at the Jakarta Asian Athletic meet.
  • Current World Record for most gold medals earned by a female athlete in a single track meet. Usha secured 5 gold medals, in the 100, 200, and 400 metre, 400m hurdles, and 4x400m relay (1985 Asian Track and Field Meet at Jakarta, Indonesia).
  • Won 4 golds and 1 silver in 1986, Seoul Asian Games, claiming for herself the title of Asia's sprint queen.
  • Took a hiatus from the sport following her marriage in 1991, returning in 1993.
  • Participated in three Olympic Games, Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988. Member of 4 × 400 m relay squad in Atlanta 1996, but did not compete.
  • Represented India in 4 x 100 metres relay together with Rachita Mistry, E. B. Shyla, and Saraswati Saha at the 1998 Asian Championships in Athletics where her team won the gold medal on way to setting the current national record of 44.43 s.[6][7]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Recipient of the Arjuna Award, 1984.
  • Padma Shri, 1984.
  • Greatest woman athlete, 1985 Jakarta Asian Athletic Meet.
  • Best Athlete in Asia Award, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989.
  • World Trophy for best Athlete, 1985, 1986.
  • Adidas Golden Shoe award for the best athlete, 1986 Seoul Asian Games.
  • Kerala Sports Journalists.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ P. T. USHA Personal Profile at www.ptusha.org
  2. ^ India Best21 (23 June 2016). "List of India's best Sportspeople". IndiaBest21. 
  3. ^ Usha School of Athletics: A giant stride forward
  4. ^ "Women's 400M Hurdles (Finals) – Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics". 
  5. ^ "National records" (PDF). ATHLETICS FEDERATION of INDIA. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Vijaykumar, C.N.R (15 December 1998). "After the feast, the famine". www.rediff.com. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  7. ^ "National records" (PDF). ATHLETICS FEDERATION of INDIA. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 

External links[edit]