Wishes poured in on social media as the legendary India track and field athlete P.T. Usha on Saturday turned 56. Usha, popularly knows as the ‘Payyoli Express’, is still regarded as the finest track athlete the country has ever produced.
Usha won medals right through the course of her illustrious career but it was the 400m hurdles race at 1984 Los Angeles Olympics that remains one of her finest moments.
She finished fourth by 1/100 of a second and missed out on the bronze medal by the tiniest of margins. But from there on, she didn’t look back and finished with an enviable trophy haul.
At the 1985 Asian Championships in Jakarta, she won five gold medals while she won four gold medals at the 1986 Asian Games. She would go on to win many more medals before hanging her boots in 2000.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju was one of the first to wish Usha on her special day and he wrote on Twitter: “Birthday greetings to the legend and India’s original ‘Golden Girl’ PT Usha. She is still contributing to Indian sports by providing training and coaching to young athletes. I pray for your good health and long life. @PTUshaOfficial.”
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted: “Warm greetings to renowned athlete, legendary Indian sprinter, former Olympian, our Padma Shri @PTUshaOfficial ji on her birthday. I pray to god to bless you with good health and long life.”