India’s sporting legend PT Usha takes oath as Member of Parliament

Indian sporting legend and former Olympian PT Usha took oath as a member of Rajya Sabha at 11 am IST Wednesday. Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the Indian parliament. Usha took her oath in Hindi.

Usha is one of four eminent personalities to be nominated by the government to the Upper House, along with composer Ilaiyaraaja, film director and screenwriter KV Vijayendra Prasad and philanthropist PV Heggade.

Usha was unable to attend parliament on Monday for oath-taking with other new MPs. On Tuesday, she met BJP president JP Nadda in New Delhi, following which the latter’s office tweeted, “PT Usha, former Olympic track and field athlete, called upon BJP National President J P Nadda today in Parliament House in Delhi. He extended his congratulations to her for being nominated as Rajya Sabha MP and wished her the very best.”

Born in Kuttali, Kozhikode, Kerala in southern India, Usha has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979 and has won four Asian Games gold medals and seven silver medals. In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Usha missed the bronze in the 400 metres hurdles final by a mere 0.01 seconds. Her time of 55.42 seconds was then an Asian record.

In the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, South Korea, Usha won the gold in all four disciplines she participated in and broke the games record in each of them – 200 metres, 400 metres, 400 metres hurdles and 4×400 relay.

Usha has been honored with the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri.