Om Nambiar- The Man Behind PT USHA Passes Away.


It’s safe to assume that our previous generation beams with pride when someone brings the name “PT Usha” in any conversation.

She was arguably the first Indian sports icon who inspired millions towards excellence in sports. There was nothing more exhilarating than seeing her run with grace and speed in the 1980s.   

This Thursday, PT Usha expressed grief as she mourned the loss of her coach, a father figure she looked up to as she made history in her career.

Om Nambiar, 89 years who gave India a decorated athlete, passed away at his residence near Vadakara due to an age-related illness.

The one who gave India a Sports Icon

Nambiar always kept his prized student on her toes and continued to challenge and motivate her after she bagged a silver in 100m and 200m sprints at 1982 Asiad, Delhi.

The coach studied her stride pattern and found Usha more suited for hurdles, a relatively new event added to the Olympic roster for the first time.  

The 1983 Asian Championship 400m hurdle tested her potential as she made a run for 400m and came back with gold.  

She missed out on the bronze at the Olympics by one-hundredth of a second in the 400m hurdles at the 1984 LA Olympics, yet she would not have achieved this without the vision and guidance of her coach.

She bags five gold medals and a bronze at the 1985 Asian Athletic Championship held in Jakarta.

 Om Nambiar, one of the first three recipients of the first Dronacharya Award, 1985 conferred with Padma Shri earlier this year, was multifaceted as he was a personal coach and a nutritionist, recovery expert and sounding board.

The Beginning. 

Present- The Summer of 1977- A man is standing under the scorching heat wearing a cap, and his coat stands out among the crowd as he’s the only one wearing a suit despite the weather. A little girl, about 13 years of age, notices the retired sergeant of the Indian Air force, now a coach.

Then, 1968-1971

Let’s dig deeper about the man. He served the forces for about 15 years when he decided to retire. He completed his coaching diploma from the National Institute of Sports in Patiala in 1968 and joined the Kerala sports council in 1971.

The 39-year-old man holds a huge responsibility on his shoulders as he’s tasked with hunting down talented athletes in the state.

Present- 1977

The 13-year-old girl wins the race in the selection trial of a sports school in Kannur. The coach takes notice of her lean shape and fasts walking style.

He begins training his students and observes as the young teen completes warm-up drills with precision, manifesting her active listener trait. That day she earned herself a guiding light and a toffee.  

Quick Results follow as she comes home with six medals- 4 gold in 100m, 200m, 60m hurdle and high jump, silver in long jump followed by a bronze in 4X100m relays at the Inter-State meet for juniors in Kollam, 1978

This commemorates the everlasting bond of the athletics coach, Om Nambiar and our very own outstanding track and field star- PT Usha. 

She’s earned a considerable number of toffees and medals since then.

Some exceptional cultural traits run across generations that make a nation stand out among millions. India bores the qualities of honouring its teachers (Guru- the one who removes darkness) with all the admiration, love and respect it has been carrying for as long as we can remember.




Guruksha Gurnani
Guruksha Gurnani
An economics graduate amidst pandemic still whining about the farewell that didn’t take place. Unfinished letters, manuscripts, and poems adorn my library. Writing isn’t just a skill, it’s a safe haven after an exhausting day at work. This is home.



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