Achievers

P T Usha

P T Usha

P. T. Usha

 

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. 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.

 

Early life

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.

Personal life

She is employed as an officer in the Southern Railways. In 1984, she was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award. Usha married V. Srinivasan, then an inspector withCentral Industrial Security Force in 1991. They have a son togethe,r Ujjwal.

 

 

 

 

Career

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.  

 

 

Achievements

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 aKollamt           , 1978.

Participated in the Moscow Olympics, 1980.

Became the first Indian woman to reach the final of an Olympic event.

Became the youngest Indian sprinte,r 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 currentIndian national record   .

Won 5 gold medals and 1 bronze in 1985, att he 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 Asianr aTck 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 recordt of 44.43 s.

Awards and honours

 

 

Statistics

International competitions

 

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