“The Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh passes away due to Covid complications

File photo of Milkha Singh (Image Courtesy: ANI)

“The Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh passes away due to Covid complications 

Milka Singh, independent India’s first sporting superstar, a four time four-time Asian Games gold medallist and popularly known as “Flying Sikh”, passed away at the age of 91 in Chandigarh late on Friday. Legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh was being treated at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research. Singh is survived by son Jeev Milkha Singh, daughters Mona Singh, Sonia Singh and Aleeza Grover. His wife Nirmal Kaur, a former India volleyball captain, had lost her battle died last week due post covid complications. 

Milka Singh was the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1958 and he represented India at the Olympics in 1956, 1960 and 1964. He narrowly missed out on a bronze at the Rome Olympics in 1960 by 0.1 seconds. Singh made a national record by finishing the race in a time 45.73 seconds and it remained a record for nearly 40 years before Paramjeet Singh surpassed it in 1998. In 2013, his story was turned into the Bollywood film named ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’.  

Many celebrities, politicians and people paid tribute to the legendary sprinter. “It is with extreme sadness that we would like to inform you that Milkha Singh Ji passed away at 11.30 pm. on the 18th of June 2021,” his family announced in a statement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tributes to the athlete and wrote on twitter “In the passing away of Shri Milkha Singh Ji, we have lost a colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation’s imagination and had a special place in the hearts of countless Indians. His inspiring personality endeared himself to millions. Anguished by his passing away,”  Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, Indian women’s tennis star Sania Mirza and many other icons mourn the demise of the legendary sprinter. 

The Padma Shri awardee was cremated with full state honours in Chandigarh. Punjab Governor V.P. Singh Badnore and Union Minister of State for Sports  also attended the cremation and placed the Wreath, as a mark of respect to the departed soul. Singh’s achievements will inspires the generations of India and his legacy will always be a part of India’s sporting lore.