Milkha Singh (November 20, 1929 – June 18, 2021), also known as The Flying Sikh, was an Indian track and field sprinter who was acquainted with this sport while serving in the Indian army. He is the only athlete to win a gold medal in the 400 meters at the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals at the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He represented India at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1960 Summer Olympics. 1964 in Tokyo. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian title, in recognition of his sporting achievements.
The race for which Singh is best remembered was finishing fourth in the 400m final at the 1960 Olympics, in which he entered as one of the favorites. He led the race all the way to the 200m mark before slowing down, letting the others pass him. Various records were broken in the race that required the photograph and saw American Otis Davis declare the winner a hundredth of a second ahead of Germany’s Carl Kaufmann. Singh’s time of 45.73 seconds in fourth place is an Indian national record for nearly 40 years. From an early life as an orphan and emigration during India’s partition, Singh became a sporting icon in his country. In 2008, journalist Rohit Brijnath described Singh as “the best athlete India has ever produced”. Singh died of complications of COVID-19 on June 18, 2021 at the age of 91, 5 days after his wife, Nirmal Saini.
Milkha Singh was born into a Rathore Rajput Sikh family. His birthplace was Govindpura, a village 10 kilometers from the town of Muzaffargarh in the province of Punjab, British India . He was one of 15 siblings, 8 of whom died before India was divided. He was orphaned during the Partition when his parents, a brother and two sisters were killed in violence that broke out between the villagers and Muslims trying to convert them. He witnessed these murders.
Escaped from troubles in Punjab, where Hindu and Sikh killings continued, moved to Delhi, India, in 1947, Singh lived briefly with his Indian family. she was married and was briefly imprisoned in Tihar prison for traveling. on a train without a ticket. His sister, Ishvar, sold jewelry to get him released. He spent some time in the refugee camp in Purana Qila and the resettlement site in Shahdara, both in Delhi.
Singh was promoted from lieutenant to junior officer in recognition of his successes at the 1958 Asian Games. Singh was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth civilian award, following his success in 1958. In 2001, he turned down an offer of the Arjuna Prize from the Indian government, claiming the award. to recognize young athletes, not people like him. He also believes that the award has been inappropriately given to those who are notably less engaged as active sports athletes.
While sharing his experience at a university in Goa in 2014, he said, “Awards are now distributed like ‘prasad’ in a temple. Why honor when you are not qualified to consider the award? I refused Arjuna to be offered to me after receiving the Padma Shri. It’s like getting a SSC certificate after getting a master’s degree.
All of Singh’s medals are awarded to the nation. They were displayed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi and later moved to a sports museum in Patiala, where a pair of running shoes he wore in Rome were also displayed.
Milkha Singh is a great influence. Dedication and discipline are the guiding principles of Milkha Singh. In his own words, “Set the bar high, but discipline is a must. Discipline doesn’t necessarily come from outside rules. Conversely, once a child learns self-discipline, the results can be very special – just as it was for Milkha. He is a real inspiration because he belongs to a time when there was no coach for him, no reward for his efforts and no guaranteed job to continue training, all he has is the will to win and that makes him even greater. Always believe in yourself. He showed us how important it is to be who we all want to be. We should never doubt our dreams and will work hard to make them come true.