PT Usha was born, as the daughter of Paithal and Lakshmi, at Payyoli, a small village in Kozhikode, on June 27, 1964.
The queen of Indian track and field for two decades, P.T. Usha has been associated with Indian
athletics since 1979. The initials stand for Payyoli Tevaraparampil, her family names according to the
traditional naming system in many parts of South India. Usha made her international debut at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 but she shone into the limelight in the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, winning the silver in the 100 m and 200 m event.
At the Asian Meet in Jakarta in 1985 Usha established herself as the Asian sprint queen with five gold medals (in the 100meters, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay) besides a bronze in the 100mrelay.
This magnificent performance was followed by an equally brilliant spell an year later at the Asian Games at Seoul where Usha notched up four golds and a silver medal.
The finest moment in Usha's career and also perhaps the saddest however came in a single race at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. In the 400m hurdles Usha missed winning the bronze by just 1/100th of a second. She recorded her best time of 55.42secs in that race -- still an Indian national record -- but lost the medal in a photo-finish. Usha said that she cried after the event because "It was difficult to believe that I had missed an Olympic medal by a whisker."
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 the rest of her career. India Today describes the athletic situation in 1979 as a time when 'athletics was very much a male sport and track-suited women a rarity'.
In 1991, she married V. Srinivasan, and their son Ujjwal was born the following year. Although she enjoyed domesticity and motherhood, she was drawn back to athletics, and astonished the country by winning bronze medals in the 200 m and 400 m at the Asian Track Federation meet in Japan, 1999. And, silencing her critics, at the age of 34 she set a new national record for the 200m, improving on her own previous record.
P.T Usha started a School of Athletics for impart training to girl children from all over the country.
The School, located at Koyilandi near Kozhikode in Kerala, recruits children in the 10-12 age group for its
>> National Record at State athletic meet at Kottayam, 1977.
>> She captured the limelight as a junior athlete in National Inter State meet at Kollam, 1978.
>> Selected to National Squad for the 18th Pakistan National Games in Karachi, 1980.
>> Selected to the Moscow Olympics, 1980.
>> First Keralite and first Indian woman to reach the final of an Olympic event.
>> Youngest Indian sprinter to compete in the quadrennial sporting extravaganza in Moscow Olympics at the age 16.
>> Participated in 1982 Delhi Asiad and won the first medal of the games.
>> In 1983 Asian Track and Field Meet (re-christened as the Asian championship) at Kuwait, Usha tried out the 400m for the first time.
She emerged successful in the one- lapper at an international arena for the first time.
>> Her effort of 55.54 seconds in LosAngeles was a record since this was the first time, 400m hurdles was conducted in the womens section.
>> Usha gathered 5 gold medals and one bronze in 1985, at the Jakarta Asian Athletic meet.
>> Won four golds in 1986, Seoul Asian games, claiming for herself the title of Asia's sprint queen.
>> Following her marriage in 1991, she quit the scene for a while, but came back in1993 ,after 3 years of hibernation.
>> Participated in Olympic games from 1980, except on 1992, Barcelona Olympics.
>> She last participated in Atlanta Olympics , 1996.
PRIZES AND RECOGNITIONS
>> Recipient of Arjuna Award ,1984.
>> Adjudged as the greatest women athlete, in 1985 Jakarta Asian Athletic Meet.
>> Padma Sree in 1984.
>> Best Athlete of the year Award from India Government in 1984,/85,/86,/87, and 89.
>> In 1986 Seoul Asian Games, won the Adidas Golden Shoe Award for the best athlete by the Asian Amateur Athletics Association, Seoul Asian Games, 1986.
>> 33 medals including 13 golds in Asian Games and Asian Championships.
>> Won a total of 102 medals at National and International meets during her career.
>> Won 1 gold and 2 silver at the 1999 Saf Games held at Kathmandu.
>> Thirty International Awards, for her excellence in Athletics.
>> In recognition of her achievements, a road at Payyoli,her home town, is named after her.
>> The Kerala Government has also set up a "PT Usha Sports Council" at Central Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram.
>> Kerala Sports Journalists Award for the year 1999.