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Vithya Ramraj edges closer to PT Usha’s decades-old record in Indian Grand Prix-5 2023

During the Indian Grand Prix 5 held in Chandigarh on September 11, 2023, the 24-year-old R Vithya Ramraj from Tamil Nadu nearly missed out on scripting history in the women’s 400m hurdles. She missed the long-standing record set by PT Usha in 1984 by the narrowest of margins by just 0.01 seconds. Vithya Ramraj clocked an impressive 55.43 seconds, just shy of Usha’s legendary Olympic time of 55.42 seconds.

“Madam Usha is so talented and that is why her record stood for so long. I wanted to break the record, it was in my mind before the race today. I wanted to be the new Ma’am (Usha),” Vithya Ramraj said in an interview after the event. She further added, “I was a bit slow in my first 200m and then picked up speed. Had I run faster in the first 200m, I would have broken the national record today itself. But there is the Asian Games coming up, and I will try to break the NR there.”

PT Usha’s achievements

Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, popularly known as PT Usha, is the holder of the second-most oldest national record (NR) in Indian athletics after Shivnath Singh’s marathon record of 1978. Collecting four gold and seven silver medals at the Asian level, she is often hailed as the “Queen of Indian Track and Field.” In July 2022, she was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by former President Ram Nath Kovind. Later that year, in December, she was unanimously elected as the president of the Indian Olympic Association. Usha made history yet again becoming the first nominated Member of Parliament to serve as the Vice Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.

Top performers so far at the Indian Grand Prix 5 2023

At the Indian Grand Prix 5 2023, athletes Kishore Jena and Amoj Jacob continued their impressive form, after their standout performances at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest. Jena dominated in the men’s javelin throw, with a best throw of 82.53m coming on his first attempt as he overshadowed the second-placed Vikas Yadav by nearly 10 meters. Jena had recently finished fifth at the World Championships 2023 with a personal best throw of 84.77m.

Jacob, who had been part of the record-breaking men’s 4x400m relay team at the World Athletics Championships 2023, clinched gold in the men’s 400m race with a time of 45.92 seconds. Other standout performances included national record holder Jinson Johnson winning the men’s 1500m, Vithya securing another gold in the women’s 400m, and Punjab’s Harjit Singh sprinting to victory in the men’s 100m. In the women’s shot put, Abha Khatua narrowly missed her own national record but still took home the gold with an 18.02m throw.

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