Milkha Singh, also known as the Flying Sikh, was born October 17, 1935, in Lyallpur Pakistan. He died June 18, 2021, in Chandigarh, India, an Indian track-and-field athlete who became the first Indian male to reach the final of an Olympic athletics event when he placed fourth in the 400-metre race at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
Orphaned during the partition of India, Singh moved to India from Pakistan in 1947. He eked out a living by working in a roadside restaurant before joining the Indian army. It was in the army that Singh realized his abilities as a sprinter. After winning the national trials in the 200-metre and 400-metre sprints, he got eliminate during the preliminary heats for those events at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.
Milkha Singh: Personal Life
He was also known as the Flying Sikh. Milkha was an Indian track and sprinter who was introduced into the sport while serving the Indian Army. He was born in a village Gobindpura in the Muzaffargarh district now in Pakistan in undivided India. His ancestors hailed from Rajasthan. He was the second youngest child of his parents and would lose half of his 14 siblings due to poor health and lack of medical care. His childhood was spent in poverty.
During the partition of India, he was orphaned and moved to India from Pakistan in 1947. Before joining the Indian army, he eked out a living by working in a roadside restaurant. In the Indian army, he realized his abilities as a sprinter. He got marry to Nirmal Kaur. She was the former captain of the Indian Women Volleyball team.
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Milkha Singh: Career
He joined the army after three times facing rejection in the army’s electrical mechanical engineering branch in 1952.
His coach Havildar Gurdev Singh inspired him in the armed forces. He practiced and worked hard. During the National Games at Patiala, he came into the limelight in 1956.
He broke the 200 metres and 400 meters records in the National Games at Cuttack in 1958.
The saddest moment came when he finished fourth in a photo finish at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. In the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, he represented the country.
Milkha Singh: Autobiography, Media and Popular Culture
His autobiography, The Race of My Life ( with his daughter Sonia Sanwalka), got publish in 2013.
His life story got portray in a biographical film, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”. It is direct by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and stars Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor.
His wax statue that got create by the sculptors of Madame Tussauds in London got unveil at Chandigarh in September 2017.
Milkha Singh: Records, Awards and Honours
- The Gold- 1958 Asian Games- 200 m
- Gold- 1958 Asian Games- 400 m
- The Gold- 1958 Commonwealth Games- 440 yards
- Gold- 1962 Asian Games – 400 m
- Gold- 1962 Asian Games – 4X400 m relay
- Silver- 1964 Calcutta National Games – 400m
- Padma Shri in 1959.
- He bestows with the lifetime achievement award at the second edition of the Indian Sports Honours.