P.T. Usha

Sprinting Against Odds, India's Golden Girl of Athletics

4 Jul, 24 | 10:05 AM5 min read


At IndiaRunning, we're excited to share the inspiring story of P.T. Usha, a legendary figure in Indian athletics. Born on June 27, 1964, in Payyoli, Kerala, Usha's journey in track and field is a tale of remarkable perseverance and triumph.


From a young age, Usha showed a keen interest in athletics. Despite facing economic challenges and health issues, she was determined to pursue her passion. This determination was noticed by coach O.M. Nambiar, who began coaching her in 1977. Under his guidance, Usha quickly started to make her mark, winning multiple medals at the state and national levels.

Usha's career reached new heights at the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games, where she won silver medals in the 100m and 200m events. But it was at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where she truly made history. Usha came tantalizingly close to winning a medal, missing the bronze in the 400m hurdles by just 1/100th of a second. This performance, though heartbreaking, established her as one of the finest athletes in Indian history.


Her achievements continued to grow, with her most notable performance coming at the 1985 Jakarta Asian Championships. Here, Usha won five gold medals in events like the 100m, 200m, and 400m hurdles, setting records with her extraordinary talent. She replicated this remarkable performance at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, adding more gold medals to her collection.

Throughout her career, Usha won numerous awards and accolades, including the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri. She was also named the Best Athlete in Asia by the Indian Olympic Association.


Today, P.T. Usha's legacy continues to inspire athletes across the country. Her story is not just about the medals and records; it's about overcoming adversity, relentless pursuit of excellence, and setting an example for future generations. Her life and career have been a source of motivation and pride for India, showing the world, what's the true spirit of an athlete.