Track and field

Indian track icon PT Usha mourns loss of rival Lydia de Vega

JR Isaga
Indian track icon PT Usha mourns loss of rival Lydia de Vega

FRIEND AND FOES. At their peak, PT Usha (left) and Lydia de Vega captivated Asian sports.

FILE PHOTO

Indian track legend PT Usha – Lydia de Vega's fiercest rival in the 1980s – mourns the loss of one of the Philippines' sporting pillars

MANILA, Philippines – Indian track and field legend Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil “PT” Usha joined the sports world in mourning the loss of the Philippines’ own athletics icon Lydia de Vega.

“Deeply saddened on losing my athletics counterpart, a fierce competitor and good friend Lydia de Vega yesterday,” Usha wrote on Twitter on Thursday, August 11.

“She lost her life race to breast cancer but will always be remembered as a champion of life. My deepest condolences to her family.”

De Vega’s daughter Stephanie had nothing but kind words in response to the sporting legend: “On the track, the biggest rivals; but great friends in life. Thank you [PT] for your friendship with my mom.”

Usha and De Vega had one of the sport’s fiercest rivalries in the 1980s as they battled for Asian track supremacy. After both rising stars dominated the competition in their home countries, the two finally met in the 1982 Asian Games, where the Filipina blew away the Indian in her pet 100-meter dash event.

As most rivalries go, Usha did not stay in De Vega’s rearview mirror for very long as in 1983, India’s pride won gold in the 400m event of the Asian Athletics Championships. Unfazed, the Filipina rebounded with twin golds in 200m and 100m.

Usha then peaked with a five-gold masterclass in the 1985 Asian Championships before De Vega silenced critics of her assumed decline with two more golds in the 1987 edition.

Because of this stranglehold over the competition, both women were dubbed as Asia’s top track queens, and comparisons of their careers carried over well after they retired from active competition.

De Vega has run her last lap, but her legend with Usha will forever run circles around the sport’s lore, and deservedly so.

Must Read

Lydia de Vega runs final lap, leaves track marks of memories

Lydia de Vega runs final lap, leaves track marks of memories

– Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.