India has been a home to several historic sports personalities. However, one whose story struck an emotional cord with people is Milkha Singh, Arguably, Milkha Singh stood amongst the tallest icons of the country. Milkha Singh, popularly known as ‘The Flying Sikh,’ is one of India’s finest track and field sprinters who made his country proud on several occasions. He is the personification of tenacity, dedication, and enthusiasm. Milkha, who died late at night on 18 June 2021 at the age of 91 from post-Covid complications was a true inspiration to all. Milkha’s journey to success is a heroic one, beginning with his sporting accomplishments and ending with national accolades. Milkha Singh is an acclaimed former Indian track & field sprinter. What comes as an exuberant fact is that, Milkha Singh is the sole male athlete of the country who has won a Commonwealth Gold medal. In lieu of his out of the box achievements, President of India accredited him with prestigious Padma Shri award in the year 1959.
Singh’s career and achievements has been a major inspiration to all of us. set records for the 200m and 400m in the National Games of India, held at Cuttak, and also won gold medals in the same events at the Asian Games. He then won a gold medal in the 400m (440 yards at this time) competition at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games with a time of 46.6 seconds. Singh had also won two gold medals at the Asian Games in Tokyo. His endless such achievements proves how he clearly deserves the title of ‘The Flying Sikh’. The Flying Sikh shared his life story recalling his childhood struggles and talked about his experience in the famous sporting event held at Pakistan in 1960 where he defeated his Pakistani contemporary Abdul Khaliq.
He encouraged the students to work hard and emphasised that hard work is even more important than competence. He said that youth is the future of the nation and they must work hard to bring glory to the nation.
The youth of today knew of his achievements on a superficial level, but it was through Bhaag Milkha Bhaag that we understood what it took for him to reach the top. His struggles and hardwork will never be understood deeply by today’s generation. The film gave us a glimpse into the harsh realities of his life, from watching his parents being beheaded during the India-Pakistan partition and living off scraps at a refugee camp to eventually joining the Indian army. The title Bhaag Milkha Bhaag literally referred to the last words that his father said to him, asking him to flee or he too would be another life lost during the violence that swept the subcontinent post-partition.
It’s really painful to hear the sad demise of legendary Mikhla Singhji. His contribution to Indian athletics as well as they way he has shown the path for future athletes, his dedication, his determination, his willpower, is something that every athlete will want to take up in his or her life. He has come a long way. It is a great miss for all Indians and the sporting fraternity
Milkha Singh — Not just a legend on the field, but also a trendsetter off it. While Milkha Singh passed away due to COVID related complications in a private hospital in Chandigarh, his legacy will live on forever. It’s a story of strength, courage, hope and the limitlessness of human potential which we must celebrate today and everyday.
Image Source: Olympics.com
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