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Inspiring Journey of Milkha Singh aka Flying Sikh

Why is Milkha Singh Known as the greatest sprinter of the century?

India’s great sprinter Milkha Singh died on Friday after battling a corona infection for a month. Earlier, his wife and former Indian volleyball team captain Nirmal Kaur also died due to a corona infection. Padmashree Milkha Singh was 91 years old.  He breathed his last at 11.30 pm. His condition was deteriorating since evening and oxygen was also depleted along with fever.

He was admitted to the ICU of GIMER. We are going to tell you about his amazing journey.  Film actor Farhan Akhtar, who played the lead role in the film on Milkha Singh, has also expressed condolences. He wrote-” A part of my mind is absolutely not ready to accept that you are no more. He might, it’s stubbornness. That’s the stubbornness that I learned from you. The Prime Minister and many celebrities also expressed condolences on social media.”

How did he struggle in his childhood?

In his childhood, the pain of the partition of India and Pakistan and the sorrow of losing his loved ones remained with him throughout his life. During Partition, he tried to get life back on track by hiding under the seat in the ladies compartment of the train, reaching Delhi, staying in a refugee camp and cleaning utensils at dhabas. After joining the army, he made a mark as a runner.

National record of 200m and 400m: Milkha Singh reached the 1956 Melbourne Olympics as a raw talent. His performance that year was not good. But in the years to come, Milkha not only refined and carved himself but also made many records in his name. The national records of 200 meters and 400 meters were in Milkha’s name. However, Milkha was not great only because of the Rome Olympics. Milkha’s achievements in the Indian track and field are immense.

He made a record in National games: Milkha was then 27 years old. For the next two years, he vigorously followed Jenkins’ routine. It also benefited him. Milkha made a national record in the 1958 Asian Games. He was very fond of running 400 meters, where he won the gold medal in 47 seconds. Milkha Singh took almost two seconds less than Pablo Somblingo, who won the silver medal.

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Milkha Singh defeated arch-rivals Abdul Khalid of Pakistan: In the 200m race, Milkha defeated arch-rival Pakistan’s, Abdul Khalid. Khalid won the gold medal in the 100 meters with a new record for the Games. Khalid was called Asia’s best sprinter but Milkha was in fine form. He made a new record for the Asian Games by winning the gold medal in just 21.6 seconds.

At the finishing line, he fell due to a strain on his leg muscles. He won by a margin of 0.1 seconds and people assumed that this athlete had a lot to achieve. Milkha created history by defeating Abdul. After this victory, the then President of Pakistan Field Marshal Ayub Khan honoured him with the title of ‘Flying Sikh’.

He made history in the Commonwealth Games: Milkha’s spirits were high after winning two gold medals in the Asian Games. Now it was the turn of the Commonwealth Games. Here he achieved what is to date one of the most memorable moments in the world of Indian athletics. His achievement in the Asian Games was amazing. But at the Commonwealth Games, which were then called the ‘Empire Games’, Milkha had a chance to prove himself to some of the best athletes in the world.

On the day of the 400m final of the Asian Games, Milkha again won the gold medal and defeated the young partner by a margin of half a second. The pair came together in the 4x400m team. He was accompanied by Daljit Singh and Jagdish Singh B. He won the gold medal, setting a record for the Asian Games. He took 3:10.2 seconds. In this way, Milkha’s name became a total of 10 Asian gold medals.

A film named ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ has also been made on the life of legendary sprinter Milkha Singh. Milkha Singh, famous by the name of Flying Sikh, never gave up.

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Jagisha Arora

MA in History and has worked as a freelance writer. She writes on issues of gender, caste and democracy.
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