P.T. Usha’s Early Life and Career
P.T Usha or Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha is an Indian retired athlete. Born on 27 June 1964 (Present Age: 57 years old) in the village of Kuttali, Kozhikode, Kerala, she is called the ‘Queen of Indian track and field“. She studied near Payyoli. Later, she got the nickname ‘The Payyoli Express”. At the age of 9, when she was in fourth grade, P.T. Usha won the race beating the school champion. Her abilities astonished everyone at the school. Due to her natural talent, she got admission to one of the first sports-oriented schools set up by the government in Kerala.
In 1977, she was discovered by athletics coach O. M. Nambiar in a sports prize-distribution ceremony. He began coaching her in the same year. What followed was 4 gold medals, 1 silver, and 1 bronze medal at the inter-state meet for juniors. From then onwards, she went on to win multiple medals at various state and national sports tournaments.
At the young age of 16 years old, she became the youngest sprinter to represent India at the Olympics. Usha was a contingent for the 1980 Games in Moscow. In the 1982 Asian Games, she won silver in both 100m and 200m. Three years later, in Jakarta Asian Meet, Usha got raised to the position of the sprint queen as she won five gold medals (in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, and the 4x400m relay) and a bronze in the 100m relay. In other words, she proved her mettle and came to be renowned in the world.
Her Personal Life
In 1991, P.T. Usha and V. Srinivasan got married. He is an inspector with Central Industrial Security Force. The couple has a son together named Vignesh Ujjwal. However, unlike his mother, Vignesh was not much serious about a career in athletics. Rather, Ujjawal gained an IOC diploma in sports medicine. In an interview, Vignesh said, “Sports medicine is different from other branches of medicine, it’s very vast and it’s something I’m very interested in.”
Her School of Athletics
In 2000, P.T. Usha established the Usha School of Athletics. It is a non-profit charitable Non-Governmental Organisation. Her academy is in her hometown Kozhikode, Kerala. Today, it guides young athletics students and hones their skills up to international standards. This organization strives for ensuring India’s future athletic stars can reach the same heights that she did.
In a media interaction, P.T. Usha said “I am satisfied with what I have achieved. All what I aimed for, except for the Olympic medal, I achieved. I now want to ensure that one of my students wins one!”