The biography of Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, popularly known as PT Usha, is among the greatest athletes to emerge from India.
She was born on June 27, 1964, in Payyoli, a small village in the Kozhikode district of Kerala.
Usha’s incredible athletic ability was evident from an early age, and she became a national champion in multiple events.
She is regarded as one of India’s greatest track and field athletes and has won numerous accolades.
This biography offers a glimpse into the life and legacy of Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha.
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Early Life and Career of Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha
PT Usha was born to EPM Paithal and TK Velayudhan, both athletes. Her parents encouraged her to pursue sports from a young age, and Usha began running competitively when she was just six years old.
She trained under her first coach, O. M. Nambiar, who recognized her potential and became her lifelong mentor.
Usha’s talent was quickly apparent, and she won her first race at eight. By age 14, she had already won several state-level competitions.
In 1979, she won the National School Games in the 100-meter sprint, and the following year, she won gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter events at the National Junior Championships.
Usha first came to international attention at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi, where she won a silver medal in the 100-meter dash and a bronze in the 200-meter dash.
She then competed in the 1983 Asian Championships in Kuwait, winning five gold medals in the 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 400-meter hurdles, and the 4×400-meter relay.
At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Usha narrowly missed a bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in fourth place.
However, she won many hearts with her incredible performance, setting a new Asian record with a time of 55.42 seconds. She also competed in the 200-meter dash, finishing in fifth place.
Usha’s greatest moment came at the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, where she won four gold medals and a silver.
She set a new Asian Games record in the 200-meter dash, clocking a time of 22.43 seconds, which still stands today.
She also won gold medals in the 400-meter hurdles, 4×400-meter relay, 400-meter dash, and a silver in the 100-meter hurdles.
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Retirement and Legacy of Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha
PT Usha retired from competitive athletics in 2000 after over two decades of career. She has since devoted herself to coaching and training young athletes in India.
She founded the PT Usha School of Athletics in 2002, which provides free training and coaching to promising young athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Usha’s legacy in Indian sports is significant. She has won over 100 international medals, including 14 golds, and set many records.
She was the first Indian woman to reach an Olympic final, and her performance at the 1984 Olympics is still regarded as one of the greatest moments in Indian sporting history.
She is also known as the “Queen of Indian Track and Field” and is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes India has ever produced.
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Awards and Honours
PT Usha has received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including the Padma Shri in 1985 and the Arjuna Award in 1984.
She was also named Sportsperson of the Century by the Indian Olympic Association in 2000 and 2019.