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How PT Usha trained at railway tracks to reach the finals of Olympics the same year

PT Usha never had it easy but she was incredibly talented. Relive the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when she missed a bronze medal by 1/100th of a second.

How PT Usha trained at railway tracks to reach the finals of Olympics the same year

The Bridge Desk

Published: 28 Feb 2020 9:57 AM GMT

Even after 36 years it is difficult to believe that Indian athlete PT Usha missed an Olympic medal only by 1/100th of a second. But it is even more difficult to believe that Usha managed to reach the grandest sports stage of all and then missed the medal by a whisker. by training on the railway tracks near her home?

Most athletes choose a sport, give it everything they have, and stick to it till the very end. Usha was never a regular athlete. But she was gifted and special.

After her show at the Los Angles Olympics, every one started speaking highly of her.

Usha's journey was never easy. At Olympics, what disappointed her was that she was inexperienced. With the little facilities that she had at her disposal, her sporting journey has been an incredible one. It took a lot of dedication and courage to get to where she is now. In an interview to BBC, Payoli express recalls that at that in 1984 Olympics when the men's hockey team was out of medal contention she became the country's only medal hope.

Also Read: PT Usha is the Dean of sports science at Kannur University

Her talent was identified by her physical education teacher. She was asked to run with a girl who was the local district champion and also three years older to her. Usha beat the girl fair and square and the race turned out to be the turning point in her life.

Facilities or no facilities, Usha went on to win championships after championships and there was no stopping for her.

Aged 16, she became the youngest athlete at the Moscow Olympics but was disappointed in the event. But she was definitely not the one to give up easily. She recalls that it was only the Olympic year that she started practicing for the hurdles. Never had she trained for the event before. And only few in months, not only did she qualify for Olympics but went on to reach the finals of the event.

PT Usha (Image: The Live Mirror) PT Usha (Image: The Live Mirror)

Before Olympics, she had only raced in two other international events while other players who had got there, had participated in eight to nine events.

But as she reached the final confident, a false start broke her concentration and she had a terrible start. Even with a tensed mind, she tried her best to be back in the contention and it all came down to what was named as a replica of '100m sprint' . The question that everyone was searching answer to was 'who won the bronze'.

Also Read: Queen of Seoul: How PT Usha’s five-medal haul at the 1986 Asian Games left a mark on Indian Athletics

She remembers that though her leg was ahead but because she didn't dip her chest into the finishing line, she lost by 1/100th of a second.

But a head-strong girl like her did not break down and next year, she took home five medals at the Asian Championships and earned herself the nick name 'Payoli Express' by the Indian media.

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