The Flying Sikh

Milkha Singh, popularly known as “The Flying Sikh” was an Indian track-and-field athlete. He was Born in Govindpura, now a part of Pakistan, on 20th  November in 1929. He was one of 15 siblings, eight 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 that ensued. He witnessed these killings. After the partition of India, he joined Indian Army and during that time he realized  his abilities as a sprinter. He represented India in the 200m and 400m competitions of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. In 1958 Asian Games, he won gold medals in the 200m and 400m race and also won  gold medal at 400 metres at the Commonwealth Games. Infect he was the only athlete to won gold at 400 metres at the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. He represented India in Olympics for 3 times. In 1960’s Olympic, Milkha Singh captured fourth-place in the 400 metres final. In this article we represent some facts about his life below:

Things-you-didn't-know-about-the Milkha-Singh
  • One of independent India’s biggest sporting icons, ace sprinter Milkha Singh, died after a month-long battle with COVID-19 on June 18, 2021.
  • Milkha Singh, byname the Flying Sikh, (born October 17, 1929, Pakistan), 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.
  • It is known fact that during his extreme practice sessions, Milkha Singh would go unconscious. On several occasions, he would spit and had to be supplied with oxygen.
  • Milkha was once sent to Tihar jail for travelling without a ticket by train. He was bailed after his sister sold off her jewellery.
  • Pakistan’s General Ayub Khan bestowed the title ‘Flying Sikh of India’ to Milkha Singh after his brilliant performance at the Asian Games.
  • Milkha Singh donated all his medals and sporting treasures to the country, and are now part of the Sports Museum in Patiala.
  • The winner of India’s first Commonwealth gold, Milkha, declined government’s Arjuna Award in 2001 saying “it came 40 years too late”.
  • In 1999, Milkha adopted the 7-year-old son of Martyr Bikram Singh who fought in the Kargil War.
  • Milkha Singh’s long hair and beard became the talk of the town during the 1960 Rome Olympic. It was the first time people saw such a sportsperson with “unique headgear.” People at first thought he was a saint! They wondered how a saint can run so fast.
  • Milkha Singh had initially refused to go to Pakistan for the race, as he did not want to go back to the country where his parents were massacred. The then Prime Minister of India Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru convinced him to do so.
  • Milkha Singh failed three times in the Indian Army entrance exam. He passed in the fourth attempt in 1951.