MEDAL WINNERS FROM INDIA

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 7/10/2020 12:05:21 PM

P. T. Usha

Pi l a v u l l a k a n d i Thekkeparambil Usha (born 27 June 1964) 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". 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 interstate 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. 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 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 Usha's 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 interstate meet and Mumbai Open National Championships. However, poor performances in 100m and 200m 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.

 

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