PT Usha is one of the best athletes India has ever produced. She still holds the record of multiple gold medals in track and field events across the continent. However, one would always remember her historic feat of coming close to bronze medal finish at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
The man who was behind the successful run of the Payyoli Express' was her coach O M Nambiar. The 88-year-old was honoured with the Padma Shri award on Monday for his contribution to Indian sports.
The Keralite had a keen eye for talent and he recognised Usha’s natural abilities early. Nambiar mentored her right through her teenage years and persuaded her to try out the 400m hurdles ahead of the 1984 Olympics as he thought PT Usha had a great chance of winning a medal. He was almost proved right.
Nambiar was honoured with the Dronacharya Award in 1985 and is still one of the most well-respected Indian athletics coaches. Nambiar was very concerned about and highly opposed to the use of performance enhancing drugs. He indicated that athletic contests in India were rife with abuse, because the testing and standards were so slack.He contended that was the reason that Indian athletes had such poor showings internationally, where things were much stricter.