New Delhi: One of India most celebrated sprinters PT Usha, who has been carefully nurturing talent at the Usha School of Athletics in Balussery (Kerala) in the hope of producing an Olympic champion, congratulated Neeraj Chopra after he won India's maiden Olympic track and field gold in javelin throw at Tokyo2020 on Saturday.
Usha, fondly called the 'Payyoli Express', had made the world realise India's potential in athletics when she missed the bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in 400 metre hurdles by 1/100th of a second, making it the closest-ever miss for an Indian athlete in any competition.
But the runner, now 57, who won four Asian Games gold medals - 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and 4X400m relay - at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, besides winning the 100m and 200m silver at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, couldn't hold herself back when she saw Chopra's monstrous throw of 87.58 metres earn India a historic gold medal.
Usha posted a picture of herself with Chopra and tweeted, "Realised my unfinished dream today after 37 years. Thank you my son @Neeraj_chopra1. (Flag of India, First place medal symbol) #Tokyo2020."
The image logged more than 40,000 likes and more than 8,000 re-tweets in no time.
While Usha was called the golden girl of Indian athletics, an Olympic medal remained her only unfulfilled dream. Despite being the favourite for a podium finish at the 1984 Olympics in 400m hurdles, her effort of 55.42 seconds was not enough to fetch her bronze, as she finishied fourth.
Usha blamed the disappointment to one of the competitors' false start, which she said had "broken her rhythm" as "she got off the blocks a bit slower at the restart."