This article will tell you about the inspiring story of Milkha Singh
Milkha Singh, also known as “The Flying Sikh”, was one of India’s most successful and renowned athletes. He was born on October 20, 1929, in Govindpura, Punjab, British India (now in Pakistan).
Milkha’s parents died when he was young, and he was raised by his grandmother. He went to school in a neighboring village, but his interest in sports led him to join the Indian Army in 1951.
In the army, Milkha was introduced to athletics and began training under the guidance of Havildar Gurdev Singh. He showed a natural talent for running and started competing at the national level.
Milkha’s breakthrough came in the 1956 National Games in Patiala, where he won the 200m and 400m races, setting new records.
Milkha’s first international competition was the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where he represented India in the 200m and 400m events. He failed to qualify for the 200m final, but he set a national record in the 400m, finishing fourth in his heat.
The experience was a disappointment, but it motivated Milkha to train harder for future competitions.
In the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games, Milkha won his first international medal, a gold in the 200m event. He also won a silver medal in the 400m and helped India win a gold medal in the 4x400m relay.
The success in Tokyo was followed by a gold medal in the 400m event at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. He also won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay.
Milkha’s greatest achievement came in the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he won the 400m race in a time of 45.6 seconds, setting a new national record. The victory made him the first Indian to win an individual athletics gold medal at the Olympics.
Milkha’s win was particularly significant because it came just four years after India’s independence from British rule. He became a national hero and was hailed as “The Flying Sikh” for his speed and agility on the track.
Milkha’s success continued in the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games, where he won gold medals in the 400m and 4x400m relay events. He also won a gold medal in the 400m event at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica.
However, his performance in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics was disappointing, as he failed to qualify for the 400m final.
Milkha retired from competitive athletics in 1964, but he continued to be involved in sports. He coached athletes and served as the Director of Sports in the Punjab Ministry of Education.
He also established the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust, which supports young athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Milkha’s achievements in athletics have been recognized both nationally and internationally. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor, in 1959, and the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honor, in 1974.
In 2000, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Olympic Association. He was also appointed as the goodwill ambassador of the Indian team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Milkha Singh passed away on June 18, 2021, due to COVID-19 complications. His legacy as a sports icon and national hero continues to inspire generations of young athletes in India and around the world.