Legendary athlete P.T. Usha raises Rs 20 Lakh for training young sprinters in school

Setting out her vision. PT Usha in a file photo (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, who has long been referred as the 'Payyoli Express' and is one of the most well-recognized names in Indian sports, has crowdfunded to raise a total sum of Rs 20 lakh in order to assist budding athletes in her school of aspiring sprinters and runners. 

The legendary 'Queen of Indian track', runs a school for aspiring sprinters, which she had set up back in 2002 to train young, budding-up athletes. The school offers facilities like free training, shelter and food and is largely run with the help of occasional contributions made by the state and central governments and individual donors. 

Usha's latest crowdfunding campaign was aimed to generate a total of Rs 26 lakh for the training of 16 athletes from her school - out of which, the former international runner has managed to raise Rs 20 lakh.




The cost of training and preparing a single athelete goes up to Rs 3-6 lakh per year, and funding from external sources is an integral part of providing the basic facilities to the young aspirants.

"In the past, celebrities like Mohandas Pai and Kumari Shibulal came forward to sponsor five to six athletes each," Usha was quoted telling Times Of India. "Sudha Murthy was kind enough to give us Rs 20 lakh once. Our mud track was donated by the state government and the synthetic one by the Centre. Our hostels were build by Shobha Developers."

"Athletics is our focus, but our kids also pursue formal education at nearby schools and colleges," she further added. "Some of them scored above 90%."

Considering, our system has time and again failed to provide equal opportunities to 'non-mainstream' sports, it is great to see the likes of P.T. Usha, taking up the cause in their own hands.

Bravo!

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