First Indian Woman to Reach Olympic Finals

First Indian Woman to Reach Olympic Finals

P.T. Usha was the first Indian woman to reach Olympic finals. She reached the finals of the 400 metres hurdles in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Usha lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second.

P.T. Usha was born on May 20, 1964 in the village of Payyoli, in Kozhikode District in Kerala. Nicknamed as Payyoli Express, P.T. Usha passed out from the Sports School for Women started by Kerala Government. Renowned coach O.M. Nambiar noticed Usha's talent during the National School Games in 1979 and took her under his wings. She made her debut in 1980 Moscow Olympics. In 1982, Delhi Asian Games, P.T. Usha won silver medals in 100 m and 200 m. Usha came into her own at the Asian Track and Field Championship at Kuwait in 1983, where she took gold in the 400 m and set a new Asian record. In 1986 Seoul Asian Games, P.T. Usha won 4 gold and 1 silver medal in the track and field events and created new Asian Games records in all the events she participated. For her achievements, P.T. Usha was conferred with the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award in the year 1985.

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First Indian to Win Wimbledon Junior Singles Title

Ramanathan Krishnan, one of the legends of Indian tennis, is the first Indian to win Wimbledon Junior Singles title. Ramanathan Krishnan achieved this feat in 1954 by beating Ashley Cooper in the finals. In the process, he also became the first Asian to do so.

Ramanathan Krishnan was born on April 11, 1937. He honed his tennis skills under the watchful eyes of his father T.K. Ramanathan. Krishnan won the national senior title for eight consecutive years. Ramanathan Krishnan established himself as an international tennis star and was rated among the top ten in the world on five different occasions. He was seeded 4 in the Wimbledon of 1962. In 1960, Krishnan reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon but lost to the eventual champion Fraser. He again reached the semifinals next year, but champion Rod Laver got the better of him. He was also a member of the Indian team which reached the final of the Davis Cup in the year 1966.

First Indian to Win Junior US Open Title

Leander Paes was the first Indian to Win Junior US Open Title. Leander Paes won the US Open championship in 1991 by defeating Karim Alami of Morocco 6-4, 6-4.

Leander Peas is one of the few sportsmen of India who are known for their killer instinct and never-say-die spirit. Born on June 17, 1973, Leander Paes shot into limelight when he won the 1990 Wimbledon Junior title and attained top rank in the junior world-rankings. Though there is nothing much to write about his international career as a singles player, he teamed up with Mahesh Bhupathi to form a formidable doubles player. The two have won a number of Grand Slam titles.

Leander has also scripted some memorable victories in the Davis Cup over his more fancied rivals. He won a bronze medal for India at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

First Indian to Win All England Badminton Championship

Prakash Padukone is the first Indian to win All England Badminton Championship. He won the coveted All England Open title in 1980 with a victory over Liem Swie King of Indonesia.

Prakash Padukone was born on 10 June 1955. He was initiated into badminton by his father Ramesh Padukone who was the Secretary of the Mysore Badminton Association. He won the National Junior Title and Senior Title in the year 1972 and thereafter he won the National Title consecutively for the next seven years, until 1979. Prakash Padukone won his first major international title in 1979 at the Commonwealth games. He also won the London Masters' Open, the Danish Open and the Swedish Open.

Prakash Padukone was awarded with Arjuna award in 1972 and the Padma Shri in 1982.

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