Hello Defence Lovers, Legendary Former Indian Sprinter & Honorary Captain, Flying Sikh Milkha Singh sir passed away last night ( June 18) at 11:30 pm. He was admitted to ICU on June 3 due to dipping O2 level. On May 20, he had tested positive for COVID19. As the entire country mourning his demise, a look at some lesser-known inspiring facts about the Legendary Flying Sikh.
- Honorary Captain Milkha Singh wanted to join the Indian army but was rejected thrice and got selected in the fourth attempt. After that, he trained hard during his “fatigue time” often racing against the meter-gauge trains. While serving in the Indian Army he was introduced to the sport as a field sprinter.
- In the 1960 Rome Olympics 400m final, Milkha Singh ran at an average speed of 32 km/h. In the initial practice sessions and the Heats, he would just zip around the tracks while the European and American Athletes struggle to match his pace.
- He is the only athlete to win gold in 400 meters race at the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. He won India’s first Commonwealth gold.
- Milkha Singh received the nickname of ‘Flying Sikh’ from Pakistan’s second president Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan (Then General) when Milkha Singh defeats Pakistan’s athlete Abdul Khaliq in a race which was organised in Pakistan itself. Despite the huge support for Khaliq in the stadium, Singh went on to win that race while Khaliq took the bronze medal. As Gen Ayub Khan, Pakistan’s second president awarded the competitors their medals, Singh received the nickname that would stick with him for the rest of his life.
- “Gen Ayub said to me, ‘Milkha, you came to Pakistan and did not run. You actually flew in Pakistan. Pakistan bestows upon you the title of the Flying Sikh.’ If Milkha Singh is known as the Flying Sikh in the whole world today, so the credit goes to General Ayub and to Pakistan,” Singh says.
- Once Milkha Singh Said, “My greatest desire before I die is to see an Indian win the gold medal that I lost in the Olympics,”
- General Bipin Rawat CDS expresses heartfelt condolences on the demise of Flying Sikh Milkha Singh. “He was an inspiration for all of us because of his determination to always succeed no matter how challenging were the odds. As soldiers, we are expected to find the way where there are none and this is how we keep moving forward towards victory” he said.
Milkha Singh as a true soldier has faded away and has left behind a legacy that makes us all proud. The Flying Sikh, a true legend who will continue to inspire generations of sportspersons. The legendary athlete will always be remembered for many firsts in the field of athletics.