PT Usha appointed as Dean of faculty for sports science and physical education of Kannur University
What's the story?
One of the most decorated Indian track and field athletes of all time, PT Usha has been appointed as Kannur University's Dean of faculty for sports science and physical education.
PT Usha is one of the most highly-regarded Indian athletes of all time. Apart from claiming multiple national titles, the Golden Girl, as she was popularly known, won an astounding 14 Gold, six Silver, and three Bronze medals at the Asian Championships in her career.
The former Olympian also has four gold medals at the Asiad - all of which came during the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, which is another record. She holds seven Silver medals in Asian Games as well.
PT Usha received the Arjuna Award in 1983 and then the Padma Shri in 1985 for her extraordinary contributions towards the sport. The Adidas Golden Shoe Award, the Best athlete in Asia award, and World trophy for the best athlete are amongst some of her other marvellous achievements.
While representing India at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the ace sprinter narrowly missed out on a Bronze medal by 1/100th of a second in 400m hurdles. Her timing of 55.42 during this race remains the Indian 400m Hurdles record till date.
The veteran athlete also took part in the 1980, 1988, 1996 editions of the Summer Olympics.
The heart of the matter
Even after her retirement as a professional athlete, PT Usha continued to contribute to Indian athletics. She manages the Usha School of Athletics which is dedicated to the practice and promotion of sports in the country. Usha is also a coach herself who trains a select few athletes.
The Payyoli Express, as she is fondly known, will now be looking forward to an exciting challenge in her life as she has been made the Dean of the sports science and physical education department at Kannur University.
The chancellor of the university, who is also the Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammed Khan selected the name of PT Usha for the post.
The vice-chancellor of the university, Gopinath Ravindran, told TOI:
“Though the usual practice is to appoint a dean from the academic circles, we don’t have such personalities in the sports field and hence the decision to appoint Usha, who is an eminent sports personality, with global recognition.”
Ravindran also mentioned that it will be an honorary post for 55-year-old PT Usha and she would not be required to take academic classes. Her key role will be in relation to the activities conducted by the sports science and physical education department and their decision-making.
“This part of the state can do a lot in sports and since Usha is also from the region, she would be able to give a facelift to the sports scenario here, and we are hopeful that it would benefit the university as well,” the Vice Chancellor further added.
Speaking on the matter, a visibly excited Usha told TOI:
"I'm yet to realise the enormity of the offer, and I'm waiting for more information from the varsity officials in this regard."
Former sprinter PT Usha is willing to extend help to the students of the department in all the ways she can. It is set to be another interesting chapter in the life of the former Olympian. Becoming the Dean is a huge achievement in itself as she is the first sportsperson from Kerala to be conferred such an academic honour.Published 07 Feb 2020, 14:54 IST