PT Usha delighted as coach OM Nambiar awarded Padma Shri
It was sheer coincidence that PT Usha met her coach OM Nambiar on Monday, hours before his name was announced as Padma Shri recipient. Usha, the most decorated Indian track star, achieved all her glory under the legendary coach.
Usha was emotional and overjoyed when she heard the news on television and immediately called her coach to break the news.
“I am very, very happy that he got Padma Shri. He is so deserving. He should have got it 25-26 years ago. Though it has come late, I am very happy he has got such a huge honour,” Usha said.
“I am his trainee and my achievements are still the closest in athletics in the Olympics for an Indian; even at the Asian Games in 1986 India was in 14th position and came to fifth position because of my gold medal. He is the most deserving coach,” she said.
Usha spoke about her visit to Nambiar, 89.
“I went to meet him in the evening. There was an engagement in my family and I had to attend a function close to Nambiar sir’s house. So, after the function I went to his house and took tea with him. He was sleeping but woke up and told me I should not go without having tea. He hasn’t spoken to me for long. Walking is difficult for him, but otherwise he is doing okay,” said Usha.
She took a trip down memory lane, describing how tough it was to reach international level during her peak in the 1980s and was possible only because she had a dedicated coach. Her best moment came at the Los Angeles Olympics when she came close to winning a medal but finished fourth in the 400m hurdles, missing bronze by 1/100th of a second.
“He is a very dedicated coach. He is like a father to me. He has looked after me very well. In our times there was no facility in our country and to give performance at international level was so, so difficult.
“From 1977 to 1990 I was with him and all my best performances have come under him. He brought me up from the start to the Olympics. The system was different that time.”
The other Padma Shri recipients in sports are Mouma Das (table tennis), KY Venkatesh (para sports), Sudha Hari Narayan Singh (athletics), Virender Singh (wrestling), P Anitha (basketball) and Anshu Jamsenpa (mountaineer).
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