File photo of R Vithya Ramraj© X (formerly Twitter)
Tamil Nadu’s Asian Games-bound R Vithya Ramraj came agonisingly close to breaking the legendary PT Usha’s 39-year-old women’s 400m hurdles record as she clocked 55.43 seconds during the Indian Grand Prix 5 on Monday. The 24-year-old Vithya’s time was just one hundredth of a second less than Usha’s 55.42 which she had clocked while finishing fourth in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Usha’s record is the second oldest national record in athletics after Shivnath Singh marathon NR of 1978. Usha is currently serving as the president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
“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 said.
“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,” the athlete added after her event.
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