Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 30 March 2023 7.32 AM IST

PT Usha and Ilayaraja to shine in Rajya Sabha


PT Usha, an irreplaceable talent in Indian sports, and music maestro Ilayaraja have been nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Both of them, who have left a unique mark in their respective fields, got the respect they deserved.

PT Usha aka Pilavullakandi Thekkeraparambil Usha has been the golden star of Indian athletics for four decades. In his tweet announcing the Rajya Sabha nomination, the Prime Minister was right when he said that Usha is an inspiration to all Indians. Usha's commitment, sincerity and dedication, while winning medals on the track and giving guidance to young talents as a coach, is an example to all.

The distance already covered and the number of medals amassed by Usha, who missed out on bronze by one-hundredth of a second at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, is no small feat. Usha became the golden girl on the track by leaping over challenges one after the other like in her favourite event, the 400m hurdles.

The name of PT Usha, who entered Indian athletics in the 1980s under the guidance of coach OM Nambiar, is indelibly etched in the minds of the Indian people. No other Indian athlete has been able to surpass the 55.42 seconds clocked by Usha in the 400m hurdles in Los Angeles 38 years ago. She won six medals, including five gold, in the Asian Track and Field Championship held in Jakarta in 1985. Usha is also the Indian athlete who won the most medals in an international athletic meet. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was in the front row to receive Usha when she returned to India after winning four golds and one silver, with a games record, at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games.

Usha was one of the prominent athletes who put an end to the trend of women athletes retiring from the track after getting married. With the support of her husband Srinivasan, who is also an athlete, she continued to run again, including in the Olympics and the Asian Games. It was after the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games that she started preparing to switch from a sprinter to a coach. Many female athletes have emerged from the Usha School of Athletics established in Balussery, Kozhikode. Her husband Srinivasan was with her from the beginning of the school. Her son Vignesh Ujjwal, a doctor with a diploma in sports medicine from the International Olympic Committee, is also supporting her. The arrival of an experienced Usha on the Rajya Sabha track is a big hope for the sports sector. PT Usha is sure to be a beacon of inspiration with new thoughts and suggestions.

Although not a Malayali by birth, Ilayaraja is the one who has given many songs which are always close to the hearts of Malayalis. It can be said that there is no one who is not an aficionado of folk tunes that have become timeless tunes under the influence of Ilayaraja.

There is no doubt that the presence of PT Usha and Ilayaraja will enhance the greatness of the Rajya Sabha. May both of them be able to become the voice of the voiceless in the fields of arts and sports in the Rajya Sabha.

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