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P.T. Usha Biography

P.T. Usha (Pilavullakandi Thekkeparampil Usha) or ” Payolli Express” as she was popularly known was the reigning queen of Indian track and field for two decades. This “Golden Girl” was born on June 27, 1964 in a village called Koothali near Perambra in Kozhikode district of Kerala. She was interested in sports right from her childhood days.

In 1976 the Kerala Government started a Sports division for women in Kannur, where Usha started practicing under coach O.M Nambiar. Her march to fame started in 1979, when she won the individual championship at the National School Games. In 1980, in her first international meet, she won 4 gold medals for India. Her biggest moment came when in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics she missed the bronze medal in the 400m finals by 1/100th of a second.

In 1985 she won 5 gold medals and 1 bronze medal at the Asian track and field championship in Jakarta, Indonesia. At the Seoul Asian Games, Usha won gold medals in the 200 m, 400 m, 400 m hurdles and 4x400m relay categories. At the Beijing Asian Games, she won 3 silver medals for India. In 1991, she married V. Srinivasan. After the birth of her son, she came back to athletics and won bronze medals in the 200 m and 400 m at the Asian Track Federation meet at Fukuoka in Japan in 1998. She retired from athletics in the year 2000 and set up her sports academy in Kerala.

Awards and Recognitions

  • D. Litt (honours causa) conferred by University of Calicut, 2018
  • Padma Shri in 1985
  • Arjuna Award in 1983