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Thursday, April 1, 2010

The flying sikh who made the country's flag fly high

Sardar Milkha Singh is the greatest living Sikh Athlete. Born in a family of modest means, joining the army and then discovering the penchant for running and winning is his life in summation. He deservedly got an epithet named "Flying Sikh" from Pakistan General Ayub Khan. The 'Flying Sikh' is the only Indian to have broken an Olympic record. Unfortunately, he was the fourth athlete to reset the mark and thus missed the bronze medal in the 400m event at the Rome Olympics in 1960.

The Flying Sikh - Milkha Singh

For the man who won 77 of the 80 races he ran, Milkha Singh has no medals. It has been some years that 'The Flying Sikh' donated his sporting treasures to the nation. No personal souvenirs line his living room walls, no trophies sit on the mantle. Instead, the walls make do with pictures of the surgeon in America who saved his wife's life and Havildar Bikram Singh, a Kargil martyr.(Incidentally, he had adopted the son of the Kargil martyr) "I have given permission that my medals be transferred from the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi to the sports museum in Patiala," says the 72-year-old Singh.

But Milkha Singh's achievements can do without such testimony.

Recently, there was a proposal to film the life of Milkha Singh. When the concerned authorities approached him for his consent, he readily agreed. When a sum of Rs.1 crore was offered to him, he flatly refused to accept the amount and said, that I would be happy if my film motivated many to become athletes. Milkha was not only great as an athlete, he was also great in proving that he is a real patriot who is not interested in money, but the development of the sport.

Milkha Singh is king!

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