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Sardar Milkha Singh — Flying Sikh


Sardar Milkha Singh ( November 20, 1929–June 18, 2021 ) also known as flying Sikh was an Indian track and field sprinter, who was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Military. He is the only athlete to win gold medals at 200 and 400 metres at the Asian Games as well as Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals in 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. The Flying Sikh name was given by the Pakistan President General Ayub Khan when Milkha Singh went to Pakistan to participate in Games. He had timed 45.6 seconds in 400 meters at Rome Olympics. Milkha Singh won 77 of his 80 races at different places.


Milkha Singh was born in 1929 into a Rajput Sikh Rathore family. His birth place was Govindpuri, a village 10 kilometres from Muzaffergarh city in Punjab province, British India. He was one of 15 siblings, 8 of whom died before the partition of India. He was orphaned during the partition when his parents, a brother, and two sisters were killed in the violence of 1947 partition of India. He moved to Delhi and lived for a short period with the family of his married sister. He was briefly imprisoned at Tihar jail for travelling on a train without ticket.


In 1951, he joined the Indian Army. He was promoted from the rank of Sepoy to Juniors Commissioned Officer in 1958. Later, he was selected as Director of Sports in Punjab Ministry of Education and retired from this post in 1998. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1958 and Arjuna Award in 2001. He died with COVID - 19 and pneumonia on June 18, 2021 at 10:30 PM in Chandigarh. His wife Nirmala Saini also died with COVID - 19 on June 13, 2021.


There is a very popular joke about Milkha Singh. He was not well educated and was poor in English. He went to England to participate in the games. He was taking rest in the ground. An English woman asked him, "Hi are you resting?" Milkha told her, "No, I am Milkha Singh."







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