Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (born 27 June 1964), popularly known as P. T. Usha, is a retired Indiantrack and field athlete. She has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. She is often called the "queen of Indian track and field". She is nicknamed as the Payyoli Express. Currently she runs the Usha School of Athletics at Koyilandy near Kozhikode 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.
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." 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. In the year's Kerala State college meet, she won 14 medals. 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.
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. 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. At the Asian Championships in Kuwait City the same year, she won gold in 400 m.
1984 Los Angeles Olympics
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. 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."
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. 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. 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. 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. 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."
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. 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Usha married V. Srinivasan, then an inspector with Central Industrial Security Force in 1991. They have a son together, Ujjwal.
Awards and honours
- 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
- D.Litt. (Honoris causa) conferred by University of Calicut, 2018
|1980||Olympic Games||Moscow, Russia||5th (heats)||100 metres||12.27|
|1982||Asian Games||New Delhi, India||2nd||100 metres||11.67|
|1983||Asian Championships||Kuwait City, Kuwait||2nd||200 metres||24.68|
|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 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||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||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||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||4 x 400 m relay||—|
|1998||Asian Championships||Fukuoka, Japan||3rd||200 metres||23.27|
|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|
- ^P. T. USHA Personal Profile at www.ptusha.org
- ^ abRayan, Stan (1 May 2011). "She set the track ablaze". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- ^Nadar, A Ganesh (22 August 1998). ""I'm unstoppable now!"". rediff.com. Archived from the original on 16 November 2001. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- ^"Indian Track Star P.T. Usha Hangs Up Her Spikes". International Association of Athletics Federations. 25 July 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- ^India Best21 (23 June 2016). "List of India's best Sportspeople". IndiaBest21.
- ^Usha School of Athletics: A giant stride forwardArchived 1 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ abIype, George (11 September 2000). "'If I am wellknown today, it is all because of Usha'". rediff.com. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- ^ abcd"P. T. Usha: Factfile". rediff.com. 11 September 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- ^"India's Olympic moments: Heartbreak for PT Usha by 1/100th of a second". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- ^ abcd"P.T. Usha: The gold rush". India Today. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- ^"I never wanted to be an Olympian: P. T. Usha". India Today. 11 September 2000. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- ^"Olympics moments: PT Usha misses bronze by a whisker". Daily News and Analysis. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- ^ abBobb, Dilip (31 October 1986). "The golden girl". India Today. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
- ^Menon, Amarnath K. (15 August 1987). "Usha does it again". India Today. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- ^"National records"(PDF). ATHLETICS FEDERATION of INDIA. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2013. [permanent dead link]
- ^Vijaykumar, C.N.R (15 December 1998). "After the feast, the famine". www.rediff.com. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
- ^"National records"(PDF). ATHLETICS FEDERATION of INDIA. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2013. [permanent dead link]
- ^"P T Usha: Against all hurdles". The Times of India. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- ^"Calicut University confers D.Litt on Mohanlal, PT Usha". The Times of India. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- ^P. T. Usha did not start (DNS) in the heats.
- ^P. T. Usha was a reserve member of the team which was disqualified (DSQ).
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
Through this write up we are tracing the profile, carrier and biography of Indian women athlete, P.T.Usha. P.T.Usha was known as the sprint queen.
P. T. Usha - P. T. Usha was one of India's best-known women athletes. She remained the queen of track and field for almost two decades. P.T. Usha was fondly called the "Payyoli express" and the golden girl because of her awesome speed on the track.
Achievements And Accolades
Through out her illustrious carrier, Usha won many national as well as international awards. P. T. Usha has won 33 international medals including 13 Gold medals in the Asian Games and Asian Championships. In all, Usha has won thirty International Awards, for her excellence in Athletics. P. T. Usha received the Arjuna Award in 1984. The next year she was adjudged the best women athlete the Jakarta Asian Athlete Meet. She was also awarded the Padma Shree in 1984. In the Seoul Asian games of 1986, Usha won the Adidas golden Shoe award for the best athlete. P. T. Usha was named the 'Sportsperson of the Century' by the Indian Olympic Association.
As a child Usha showed an early aptitude for sports. This won her a scholarship of Rs. 250 from the Kerala government and led Usha to a special sports school at Cannore. In 1979 Usha participated in the National School Games. It was here that O. M. Nambiar (who coached her throughout most of her career) spotted her. He realized that this girl had a great potential. This proved the turning point of her illustrious carrier.
Payyoli Tevaraparampil Usha was born in a poor family in Meladi-Payyoli village, near Calicut (Kozhikode), Kerala on June 27, 1964 Kerala. Usha had to face ill health and poverty as a young girl. The initials in Usha's name stand for Payyoli Tevaraparampil, her family names, according to the traditional naming system in South India. Usha began her international carrier at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 but she proved her real mettle in the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, winning the silver in the 100 m and 200 m event. The Jakarta Asian Meet in 1985 Usha elevated her to the position of the sprint queen as she won five gold medals (in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay) and a bronze in the 100m relay.
The Seoul Asian games proved an icing on cake of her athletics carrier, where Usha notched up four Gold medals and silver. In 1991, Usha married V. Srinivasan and gave birth to a son, Ujjwal. Later, P.T Usha started an athletics school at Koyilandi near Kozhikode, Kerala to impart training to girls from all over the country. This school recruits children in the 10-12 age group.
Ups And Downs
The illustrious carrier of P.T Usha speaks for itself. She has been the finest women athlete India has ever produced. Throughout her carrier Usha never looked back. In fact, at one point of time she returned back to track after a gap of 4 years and won a silver medal at the Hiroshima Asiad! But the greatest disappointment came at the Los Angeles Olympics, where Usha missed the bronze medal by just 1/100th of a second. This was a heart break for the whole country.