Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


The other Dhanalakshmi, who actually beat PT Usha

27 years ago, GV Dhanalakshmi did the unthinkable by defeating PT Usha and Ashwini Nachappa in consecutive trials.

GV Dhanalakshmi who beat PT Usha

 GV Dhanalakshmi (third from left) at the 400 metres relay team that won the gold for India in SAF Games in Colombo. (Source: Telangana Today)


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 21 March 2021 4:55 AM GMT

The world works in marvellous ways and things have a way of coming around at one point or another in life. The sporting world continues to enthral fans with stories of hard work, toil, passion, heartbreak and success. A regular sporting phenomenon that adds to sporting fervour is when history repeats itself and this is exactly what ace runner Dhanalakshmi did, not just a few days back, but 27 years earlier as well.

22-year-old Dhanalakshmi sped to glory in the 100m and 200m events held at the recent Athletics Federation Cup Championships. Her event went on to break the national record set by PT Usha. This feat has propelled her to fame and will have most definitely egged her on to achieve more for her country in the near future. There is however another athlete who happens to be her namesake. She achieved something similar a few years before Dhanalakshmi was even born.

GV Dhanalakshmi came from a family of ardent sportspersons. It only made sense that she too would be in the sporting fray both in school and in college. However, while she excelled at multiple sports in school, she began focussing on athletics only in college. She caught the eye of her then coach, Hari who watched her win the 100m race of the first-ever competitive meet she took part in. Under the guidance of her coach who realised the immense potential she had she began training regularly. Dhanalakshmi triumphed in the 100m, 200m and 400m events at a state-level meet which allowed her to continue her meteoric rise. She claimed a second-place position at the National meet following her state-level achievements. This was her best achievement yet and it was prior to the 1990 Asian Games trials that were to take place. However, despite coming fifth at the trials that were held she was not selected most probably due to her dearth of experience and the level of competitors around her.

GV Dhanalakshmi, the first woman from Andhra Pradesh to win an international medal in athletics (Source: Telangana Today)

What follows is a story of grit and perseverance. She worked hard for the next few years with an aim to continue to try for international events. It was fate and her hard work that eventually paid off when she competed again at the Asian Games trials 4 years later. Out of all the athletes she was up against, Dhanalakshmi managed to beat PT Usha and Ashwini Nachappa in consecutive trials. It was this defining moment that brought her into the Hiroshima Asian Games where along with PT Usha, Shiny Wilson and Kutty Saramma, she won a silver medal in the women's 4x400m relay event. In doing so, she became the first woman from Andhra Pradesh to win an international athletics medal.done

This accolade makes it all the more special for her as PT Usha was her idol and someone she really looked up to. Along with an Asian Games silver, she won a Gold in the Asian Track and Field Meet in 1991 and a silver medal two years later in Manilla. However, it was an injury that kept her out of the 1992 Olympics despite her making the qualification mark.

Fast forward to 2021 and both Dhanalakshmi's( Senior and Junior) have achieved what many did not predict. Thus continuing the fine run of on-track form associated with their name and serving the sporting fraternity with the finest of performances a few decades apart.

Next Story