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P T Usha


Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (b. June 27, 1964), popularly known as PT Usha is an Indian athlete. Regarded as queen of Indian track and field, P.T. Usha has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. Her initials stand for her family/house name, according to tradition in many parts of Kerala. She was also nicknamed Payyoli Express

PT Usha was born in the village of Koothali, Kozhikode District, near Calicut, Kerala to a Chaaliyan family. In 1976 the Kerala State Government started a Sports School for women, and Usha was chosen to represent her district, at a cost of Rs. 250 per month paid by the state.


In 1979 she participated in the National School Games, where she was noticed by O. M. Nambiar, who coached her through most of her career. At a time when 'athletics was very much a male sport in India, and track-suited women a rarity'. Her debut in the 1980 Moscow Olympics was lacklustre. In the 1982 New Delhi Asiad, she managed only silver medals in the 100 m and the 200 m, but at the Asian Track and Field Championship in Kuwait a year later, Usha took gold in the 400m with a new Asian record . Between 1983-89, Usha garnered 13 golds at ATF meets. She finished first in the semi-finals of the 400 metres hurdles in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, but faltered in the finals. In almost a repeat of Milkha Singh's 1960 feat, there was a nail-biting photo finish for the third place. Usha lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second. She became the first Indian woman (and the fifth Indian) to reach the final of an Olympic event by winning her 400 m hurdles Semi-final.

In the 10th Asian Games held at Seoul in 1986, P.T.Usha won 4 gold and 1 silver medal in the track and field events. Here she created new Asian Games records in all the events she participated. She won five golds at the 6th Asian Track and Field Championship at Jakarta in 1985. Her six medals at the same meet is a record for a single athlete in a single international meet.

Usha's success story begins from the 1982 Asiad in which she won two silver medals in 100 meters and 200 meters respectively. She won 17 medals - 13 gold, 3 silver and a bronze in four Asian Track and Field Championship during the period from 1983-89.

Usha has won 101 international medals so far. She is employed as an officer in the Southern Railways. In 1985, she was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna award.

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