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Last Updated Sunday October 20 2019 03:41 PM IST

5 reasons why PT Usha is the best Indian athlete ever

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5 reasons why Usha is the Golden Girl of Indian athletics Left: P. T. Usha with her coach O. M. Nambiar. Right: Usha in action

Almost 16 years after she bid farewell to athletics for good, P. T. Usha still remains the most acclaimed Kerala athlete. Strictly going by the medals won on global stage, long jumper Anju Bobby George has her nose in front for the fact that she clinched a bronze medal at the Paris World Athletics Championships in 2003. However, Onmanorama picks out five reasons why the Payyoli Express has been hailed the greatest sportsperson to have emerged from Kerala.

A role model for generations

Nawal El Moutawakel and Usha P. T. Usha with Nawal El Moutawakel, who won the 400m hurdles gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics

Usha inspired a generation of boys and girls, by making them realise success on the sporting arena was not beyond their reach if they were willing to sweat it out. Usha and her coach O. M. Nambiar became household names in the 80s and every Kerala girl dreamt of emulating her feats.

5 reasons why Usha is the Golden Girl of Indian athletics Usha with former Indian president Gyani Zail Singh

Breakthrough achievement in Olympics

5 reasons why Usha is the Golden Girl of Indian athletics Usha with former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi

At 20, Usha became the first Indian woman to enter the final of an Olympics at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Usha missed a bronze medal in 400m hurdles by one hundredth of a second to Romania's Cristieana Cojocaru.

 5 reasons why Usha is the Golden Girl of Indian Athletics Usha with her ward Tintu Luka

Put her stamp on the Jakarta Asian Athletics Meet

Usha won five gold medals and a bronze at the Jakarta Asian Athletics Meet in 1985. This was the first instance of an Indian track and field athlete dominating an international event to such an extent.

The Golden Girl in Seoul Asian Games

Usha made the Seoul Asian Games her own with a rich haul of four gold medals and a silver. The images of the Golden Girl posing with Golden Shoe are vivid in the minds of sportslovers.

Usha School of Athletics: passing on her experience

After she quit the sport, Usha was quick to don the role of a coach by launching the Usha School of Athletics in 2002. She is determined to realise her dream of winning an Olympic through her wards. In short, Usha breathes athletics and her devotion towards giving back to the sport, which made her, is truly commendable.

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