New Delhi: Milkha Singh, the legendary athlete, and Asian gold medalist, popularly known as 'Flying Sikh', has died at the age of 91. On June 13, Sunday, Nirmal Milkha Singh, former Indian volleyball captain, and Milkha Singh's wife had also breathed her last after suffering from covid-19 and battling the virus for more than 19 days at a Mohali hospital. Born in 1929 in Govindpura, a village near Punjab province in British India, Milkha Singh developed an interest in athletics as a young boy. Milkha Singh was orphaned during the partition in 1947 and later was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Army.
In his first major sporting event, Milkha Singh represented India at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. The trip to Melbourne was ended only as a learning experience for young Milkha who returned empty-handed. In the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo, Milkha, high on spirit, gave India its first track and field medal by winning Gold medals in 200m and 400m races. He also set the Asian record for the 200m race. The win was more special as Milkha defeated Pakistan sprinter Abdul Khaliq, who was considered as the fastest man in Asia in 1958 and after Milkha defeated him, he was given the title The Flying Sikh.
Milkha again represented India at the 1960 Olympics held in Rome. The race for which Milkha is fondly remembered is his fourth-place finish in the 400 metres final at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. He had entered as one of the favourites in the showpiece event. During the race, Milkha was leading the charge before he lost momentum and was overtaken by the other sprinters.
In his third and final Olympic in Tokyo, Milkha Singh only participated in the 4x400m relay race in which he and his teammates were eliminated during the heat stages. Milkha Singh won the 400m race and also bagged gold medal in 4x400m relay race with Daljit Singh, Jagdish Singh and Makhan Singh at Asian Games in Jakarta in 1962. Milkha represented India at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Olympics in Rome, and the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. In 1969, Milkha was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements