Born in the coastal city of the southern Indian region, Kozhikode, Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha is popularly known as P. T. Usha. She is noticed as one of the iconic women athletes of track and field who she is named as Payyoli Express.
She was first noticed by an athletics coach O. M. Nambiar in 1976 at National School of Games during a sports prize distribution ceremony. After the event, O. M. Nambiar decided to coach and mentor her in the field of track and field as he had noticed her ability to become an astonishing sprinter. Very few people know that at the age of 16 when a child usually starts focusing on their career, P. T Usha had become the youngest sprinter to compete in the ‘1980 Moscow Olympic’. Usha’s feet did not stop at one place and she kept on putting her efforts to achieve more for the country.
As a result, she got eliminated in the heats of the 100 m finishing fifth and brought many gold, silver and bronze awards in various national and international games. Today, India holds a good number of athletes but the Payyoli Express is one of the finest and passionate professionals who chugs alone.
Pilavullakandi Thekkeparampil Usha or P.T. Usha was born in in Kozhikode district of Kerala in 1964. Popularly known as Payolli Express”, she was the undisputed queen of Indian track and field for two decades winning 102 national /International medals and awards throughout her illustrious career. She first came to limelight in 1979, when she won the individual championship at the National School Games. There was no looking back since then as she won four gold medals for India in her first international meet in 1980. Her reputation only grew stellar from there though she missed the bronze medal in the 400m finals by 1/100th of a second at 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The very next year she won 5 gold medals and 1 bronze medal at the Asian track and field championship in Jakarta, Indonesia. She stamped her authority further at the Seoul Asian Games winning gold medals in the 200 m, 400 m, 400 m hurdles and 4x400m relay categories. It was here where the Indian Olympic association awarded her with the Adidas Golden Shoe and named her the Sportsperson of the century.
She also won three silver medals for India in the Beijing Olympics. In 1985, she was adjudged as the best women athlete at the Jakarta Asian Athlete meet.
An Arjuna Award and the Padma Shree recipient, P. T. Usha took a hiatus from sports to start a family. She married V. Srinivasan in 1991 and 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.