P. T. Usha

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P. T. Usha
PT Usha, (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Birth name Pilavullakandi Thekkeraparambil Usha[1]
Nickname(s) Golden Girl, Payyoli Express[2]
Nationality Indian
Born (1964-06-27) 27 June 1964 (age 53)
Kuttali, Kozhikode, Kerala, India[3]
Residence Payyoli, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
Years active 1976–2000[4]
Employer Indian Railways
Height 170 cm (5 ft 7 in)
Spouse(s) V. Srinivasan (m. 1991)
Signature
Signature of P. T. Usha.svg
Sport
Sport Track and field
Event(s) Sprints
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 100 m: 11.39 (Jakarta 1995)
200 m: 23.25 (Lucknow 1999)
400 m: 51.61 (Canberra 1985)
400 m hurdles: 55.42 NR
(Los Angeles 1984)

Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (born 27 June 1964), popularly known as P. T. Usha, is a retired Indian track and field athlete. She has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979.[5] She is regarded as one of the greatest athletes India has ever produced and is often called the "queen of Indian track and field".[6] 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.

Career[edit]

Usha was first noticed in 1976 by O. M. Nambiar, an athletics coach, at a sports prize-distribution ceremony. In an interview with Rediff.com in 2000, he said, "What impressed me at first sight about Usha was her lean shape and fast walking style. I knew she could become a very good sprinter."[7] The same year, he began coaching her. Quick results followed when she won five medals at the inter-state meet for juniors, in Kollam in 1978, with four gold medals in 100 m, 200 m, 60 m hurdles and high jump, silver in long jump and bronze in 4 x 100 m relay.[8] In the year's Kerala State college meet, she won 14 medals.[7] She went on to win multiple medals at the 1979 National Games and 1980 National inter-state meet setting many meet records. She made an unimpressive Olympic debut at the 1980 Moscow Games at 16, and was eliminated in the heats of the 100 m finishing fifth.[9]

At the senior inter-state meet in Bangalore in 1981, Usha clocked 11.8 seconds in the 100 m and 24.6 seconds in the 200 m setting national records in both.[8] At the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games, she won silver medals in 100 m and 200 m, clocking 11.95 s and 25.32 s. At the 1983 Open National Championships in Jamshedpur, she broke the 200 m national record again clocking 23.9 s, and with 53.6 s, set a new national record in 400 m.[8] At the Asian Championships in Kuwait City the same year, she won gold in 400 m.[10]

1984 Los Angeles Olympics[edit]

I never wanted to be an Olympian. All I wanted was to keep breaking my own record. I never competed to defeat anybody. —P. T. Usha[11]

Usha'a best moment came at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She entered on the back of a string of good performances at the year's New Delhi inter-state meet and Mumbai Open National Championships. However, poor performances in 100 m and 200 m at the Moscow World Championships prompted her to concentrate on the 400 m hurdles. At the Olympics trials in Delhi, she beat Asian Champion M. D. Valsamma to qualify for the Games.[2] At another pre-Olympics trials, she clocked 55.7 seconds beating American top sprinter Judi Brown. At the Games, she clocked 56.81 s in the heats and 55.54 s in the semi-final, setting a new Commonwealth record as she entered the final. At the final, she came fourth, at 55.42 seconds, falling behind the eventual bronze medalist by 1/100th of a second. This followed after one of her competitors had a false start, which was said to have "broken her rhythm" as "she got off the blocks a bit slower at the restart."[12]

In the 1985 Jakarta Asian Championships, Usha won six medals — five gold and one bronze. She won the 100 m in 11.64, 200 m in 23.05, 400 m in 52.62, an Asian record, and 400 m hurdles in 56.64, with the final two coming in a span of 35 minutes.[10] Her fifth gold came in 4 x 400 m relay, and a final bronze in 4 x 100 m. She set a record in the process for most gold medals won at a single event in the history of the championships.[10] In the first two of her wins, she equalled the Asian record held by Chi Cheng of Taiwan. She went on to better her personal best in 400 m a week later at the 1985 Canberra World Cup, when she clocked 51.61, finishing seventh.[10] She almost replicated her Jakarta Championships performance at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games. She won the 100 metres silver with a time of 11.67 seconds losing the gold to Lydia de Vega. The 200 metres gold came in 23.44, 400 metres gold in 52.16 and 4 x 400 m relay gold in 3:34.58, all of which were new Games records.[13][8] At the Games, British athletics coach Jim Alford said of her, "Usha is a first class athlete, a tough competitor and a terrific runner to watch. She has all the potential. Given careful guidance, she can be world class."[13]

Prior to taking to the 1987 Singapore Asian Championships, Usha spent a month training in London under Alford. She began the Championships with a silver in the 100 m after falling behind de Vega by 0.31 seconds. She dropped out of the 200-metre race as the 400 m hurdles final was scheduled in 70 minutes from the former. She went on to win gold in 400 m hurdles clocking 56.48 s and another gold in 400 m with a timing of 52.31 s.[14] She won two more medals in the competition — silver in 4 x 100 m relay and gold in 4 x 400 m relay.

From 1983–89, Usha garnered 13 golds at ATF meets. 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.

Achievements[edit]

  • 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.[15]
  • 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 4 × 400 m 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.[16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Usha married V. Srinivasan, then an inspector with Central Industrial Security Force in 1991. They have a son together, Ujjwal.[18]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • 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

Statistics[edit]

International competitions[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1980 Olympic Games Moscow, Russia 5th (heats) 100 metres 12.27
1982 Asian Games New Delhi, India 2nd 100 metres 11.67
2nd 200 metres 24.32
1983 Asian Championships Kuwait City, Kuwait 2nd 200 metres 24.68
1st 400 metres 54.20
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, USA 4th 400 metres hurdles 55.42 AR
7th 4 × 400 m relay 3:32.49
1985 Asian Championships Jakarta, Indonesia 1st 100 metres 11.64 AR
1st 200 metres 23.05 AR
1st 400 metres 52.62 AR
1st 400 metres hurdles 56.64
3rd 4 × 100 m relay 45.22
1st 4 x 400 m relay 3:34.10
World Cup Canberra, Australia 7th 400 metres 51.61 AR
5th 400 metres hurdles 56.35
8th 4 x 400 m relay 3:37.59
1986 Asian Games Seoul, South Korea 2nd 100 metres 11.67
1st 200 metres 23.44 GR
1st 400 metres 52.16 GR
1st 400 metres hurdles 56.06 GR
1st 4 x 400 m relay 3:34.58 GR
1987 Asian Championships Singapore 2nd 100 metres 11.74
1st 400 metres 52.31
1st 400 metres hurdles 56.48
2nd 4 x 100 m relay 45.49
1st 4 x 400 m relay 3:34.50
World Championships Rome, Italy DNS[19] 400 metres
6th (semifinal) 400 metres hurdles 55.89
8th (heats) 4 x 400 m relay 3:31.55
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 7th (heats) 400 metres hurdles 59.55
1989 Asian Championships New Delhi, India 2nd 100 metres 11.74
1st 200 metres 23.27
1st 400 metres 51.90
1st 400 metres hurdles 56.14
2nd 4 x 100 m relay 44.87
1st 4 x 400 m relay 3:32.95
1990 Asian Games Beijing, China 4th 200 metres 24.29
2nd 400 metres 52.86
2nd 4 x 100 m relay 44.99
2nd 4 x 400 m relay 3:38.45
1994 Asian Games Hiroshima, Japan 4th 200 metres 24.29
5th 4 x 100 relay
2nd 4 x 400 m relay 3:33.34
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, USA DSQ[20] 4 x 400 m relay
1998 Asian Championships Fukuoka, Japan 3rd 200 metres 23.27
3rd 400 metres 52.55
1st 4 x 100 m relay 44.43
2nd 4 x 400 m relay 3:34.04
Asian Games Bangkok, Thailand 6th 400 metres 54.37
4th 4 x 100 m relay 44.77

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ P. T. USHA Personal Profile at www.ptusha.org
  2. ^ a b Rayan, Stan (1 May 2011). "She set the track ablaze". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Nadar, A Ganesh (22 August 1998). ""I'm unstoppable now!"". rediff.com. Archived from the original on 16 November 2001. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Indian Track Star P.T. Usha Hangs Up Her Spikes". International Association of Athletics Federations. 25 July 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  5. ^ India Best21 (23 June 2016). "List of India's best Sportspeople". IndiaBest21. 
  6. ^ Usha School of Athletics: A giant stride forward
  7. ^ a b Iype, George (11 September 2000). "'If I am wellknown today, it is all because of Usha'". rediff.com. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d "P. T. Usha: Factfile". rediff.com. 11 September 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "India's Olympic moments: Heartbreak for PT Usha by 1/100th of a second". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c d "P.T. Usha: The gold rush". India Today. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "I never wanted to be an Olympian: P. T. Usha". India Today. 11 September 2000. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "Olympics moments: PT Usha misses bronze by a whisker". Daily News and Analysis. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Bobb, Dilip (31 October 1986). "The golden girl". India Today. Retrieved 14 February 2017. 
  14. ^ Menon, Amarnath K. (15 August 1987). "Usha does it again". India Today. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "National records" (PDF). ATHLETICS FEDERATION of INDIA. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  16. ^ Vijaykumar, C.N.R (15 December 1998). "After the feast, the famine". www.rediff.com. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  17. ^ "National records" (PDF). ATHLETICS FEDERATION of INDIA. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  18. ^ "P T Usha: Against all hurdles". The Times of India. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  19. ^ P. T. Usha did not start (DNS) in the heats.
  20. ^ P. T. Usha was a reserve member of the team which was disqualified (DSQ).

External links[edit]