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 Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (Born 1964)
Ask Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha what difference one-hundredth of a second can make to one's life. The 'Payyoli Express' learnt her lesson the hard way when she was edged out by Romanian Cristina Cojocaru in the women's 400m hurdles at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

She emerged from the Cannanore sports hostel under the able guidance of O.P. Nambiar to set the track on fire, specially in the 1986 Seoul Asiad with four golds and the 100m silver when she was pipped to the post by Filipino Lydia de Vega.
As far as the Asian Games, the Asian track and field meets and the domestic events were concerned, whatever P.T. Usha touched turned to gold. Her determination to run fast was second to none and she proved that when she resumed her career at age 33 after a three-year gap -- which included marriage, motherhood and weight gain -- to win one gold, one silver and one bronze in the 1998 Asian track and field meet in Japan. That silenced critics who derided her comeback.
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