(Last Updated on : 08/06/2015)
Manathoor Devasia Valsamma, more popular as M. D. Valsamma, is an Indian athlete
. She is renowned for being the second Indian woman to win an individual Gold
medal at the Asian Games and the first to win it on Indian soil
. In her more than 14 years of athletic career, she has participated in various prestigious sporting events such as World Cup meets in Havana, Tokyo, London, the Asian Games editions of 1982, 86, 90 and 94. She has also appeared in all the Asian Track & Field meets and SAF Games.
Early Life and Education of M. D. Valsamma
Valsamma was born on 21 October, 1960 in Ottathai, Kannur district
of Kerala state of India
. She was interested in athletics since her school days and participated in various school sports. Athletics became her prime goal when she moved to Mercy College, Palakkad
, for further studies. She won her first medal for Kerala in the 100 metres hurdles and pentathlon in the Inter-University Championship at Pune
in 1979. Next she enrolled herself in Southern Railway
(India) where she was coached by A. K. Kutty.
Career of M. D. Valsamma
She came into spotlight after the inter-state meet at Bangalore
in 1981 by winning five Gold Medals, the hurdles over 100 and 400 metres in addition to the 400 metres flat and the 400 m and 100 m relays. This catapulted her into the Railway and national teams and in the year 1982, she became the national champion over 400-metre hurdles with a new record. This record of hers was considered better than the Asian record. In the same year, she won the Gold medal in the 400 m hurdles in an Indian and Asian record time of 58.47 seconds in front of a home crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Asian Games. After this victory, she became the second woman athlete to win an Asian Games gold for India, after Kamaljit Sandhu. Next in 1985, she created a National record in the first National Games by winning a gold medal in the 100 m hurdles. She also participated in the South Asian Federation Games in Islamabad which made her win bronze in the 100 metres, a Silver in the quarter-mile and the Gold m the 4 x 400 metres relay.
Awards of M. D. Valsamma
She was honoured with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India in 1982.
She earned the Padma Shri in 1983.
She also earned the G. V. Raja cash award from Kerala Government.