Pt usha
PT UshaReuters

India has always suffered heartbreaks at the Olympics and one such heartbreak came way back during the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984. This was the event in which PT Usha missed out on a bronze medal by one-hundredth of a second.

The moment still hurts the ace athlete to this very day and while recalling the incident Usha said that the facilities for Indian athletes were so poor that she had to eat porridge with rice before the events.

'I could't sustain the energy levels'

"That definitely affected my performance in the last 35 metres of my event since I couldn't sustain the energy level," Usha was quoted by the Press Trust of India.

Usha looks back at the days gone by and reflects on the shoddy treatment meted out to Indian athletes. She compares the facilities enjoyed by athletes from other countries and concedes that this made the Indian contingent very jealous. 

"We would jealously look at the athletes from other countries enjoying fabulous amenities; they had the latest equipment at their disposal. We wondered if we too would one day have access to such facilities," she added. 

"I remember it - the pickle we in Kerala call 'kadu manga achar'. That and some sliced fruit. I was not accustomed to baked potatoes or half-boiled chicken with soya sauce and some other typical American food," the athlete reminisces.

PT Usha further added that the Indian contingent was never informed that they would only get American food in Los Angeles. Following this, Usha was left with no choice but to eat rice and pickle which did not provide her or other athletes with any nutrition.

"As planned, I tried to cross the first hurdles of 45 metres in 6.2 secs and kept the rhythm and maintained that level of speed and endurance... But in the last 35 metres, I couldn't sustain my energy at a consistent level," she revealed.

The legend who now runs the Usha School of Athletics says her only dream is to give budding athletes everything that was denied in her career. She also said that as many as 18 girls are currently training under her and that she wants to make them Olympic level athletes.