Milkha Singh: India's 'Flying Sikh' dies from Covid

Milkha Singh: India's 'Flying Sikh' dies from Covid

6/19/2021 6:43:00 AM

Milkha Singh: India's 'Flying Sikh' dies from Covid

The country's most famous athlete ran for his life as a child and then ran to win medals.

Singh's exploits on the track and field are legendary in India. He won five golds in international athletic championships and was awarded the Helms World Trophy in 1959 for winning 77 of his 80 international races. He also won India's first Commonwealth gold in 1958.

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Singh grew up in a small village in what, during his childhood, was still British India.As a young boy who lived in a remote village in Multan province, he saw his parents and seven siblings murdered during the Partition of India and the creation of Pakistan in 1947.

As his father fell, his last words were "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", exhorting his son to run for his life.The boy ran - first to save his life, and then to win medals.Arriving in India as an orphan in 1947, he took to petty crime and did odd jobs for survival until he found a place in the army. It was there that he discovered his athletic abilities.

image captionActor Farhan Akhtar (left) played Milkha Singh (right) in the 2013 biopicSingh won Gold at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and went on to finish fourth in the 400 metres at the Rome Olympics, missing out on a bronze medal by a whisker.

In 1960, he was invited to take part in the 200m event at an International Athletic competition in Lahore, Pakistan. He hadn't been back to Pakistan since fleeing in 1947 and initially refused to go.Singh eventually did go to Pakistan. Despite the huge support for his main rival, Pakistan's Abdul Khaliq, in the stadium, Singh went on to win that race, while Khaliq took the bronze medal.

As Gen Ayub Khan, Pakistan's second president, awarded the competitors their medals, Singh received the nickname that would stick with him for the rest of his life."Gen Ayub said to me, 'Milkha, you came to Pakistan and did not run. You actually flew in Pakistan. Pakistan bestows upon you the title of the Flying Sikh.' If Milkha Singh is known as the Flying Sikh in the whole world today, the credit goes to General Ayub and to Pakistan," Singh told the BBC later.

Even though he never won an Olympic medal, his only wish was that "someone else should win that medal for India".What isn’t widely known about#MilkhaSingh& Rome Olympics that had he run 200 meters race (those days you couldn’t run 400 & 200) he would’ve got a medal as his best time was within what winners logged. But in 400 he met 3 of the finest in the world & rest is history.

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RIP to an absolute legend 🙏🏽 91 years old, 'from Covid'. This is why people no longer trust the BBC. So? the UK killed thousands to make room for illegals & the world I guess he got really sikh. RIP in peace. 91 year old dies blame Covid 🤦🏼‍♂️ Flying Sikh? 🤔 A sad day! R.I.P. Milkha Singh At 85 A true legend -RIP

So sad he lost his race to the DeltaVariant RIPMilkhaSinghji Rest in peace 🙏

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Great lose to our beloved country and the family who lost Milkha and her wife in a very short period due to COVID. I urge all to learn lessons that even fit personal like Milkha can’t beat COVID. Lie... I just want to say thank you to JAmSRcharD I was nobody in the pass until a friend of mine introduced me to you I never thought I could make money online but it's clearly real thanks you

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