OLYMPIC REMINISCENCES I went out in the first round but we were very excited when Usha qualified for the 400m hurdles final.
I was not in the best frame of mind when I went to Los Angeles for the 1984 Olympics.
I was the Asian Games champion in the 400m hurdles which came with an Asian record in 1982 but I did not get any international exposure before the Olympics.
We were five girls and we went to LA a month before the games but my coach, A.K. Kutty, was cleared late which meant that I did not get proper practice and my mental preparations were not good. It was cold too.
Since we had gone early, we stayed at the University of California hostel, which was very far away from the games stadium.
There was a lot of drama back home before the Olympics and my rivalry with P.T. Usha in the 400m hurdles was getting bitter.
When we got on the track, there was a lot of bitterness, the rivalry was intense, of course that is professional rivalry but off the track we were friends.
I went out in the first round but we were very excited when Usha qualified for the 400m hurdles final. And we were very, very sad when she narrowly missed a medal. I felt Usha ran a very bad race…she was too fast in the first 300m and messed it up. She should have maintained a steady pace throughout, which she did not. She ran the first 300 like she would run the 400 flat.
The 400m hurdles is supposed to be the toughest event in athletics and needs careful planning.
Later, we finished seventh in the 4x400m relay. We were a strong side, all of us were good 400m runners and there were three girls from Kerala in that team – Shiny and Usha apart from me…(Vandana Rao was the other girl). It was good that day, I did the first leg and Usha ran the last and we came up with an Asian record.
We did not get much time in LA after the Olympics. There was a bomb threat and we had to leave the place soon after the games, we had to virtually rush from our rooms to the airport.