Milkha Singh: The Flying Sikh

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Milkha Singh is a former Indian track and field sprinter who is highly honored for his sports achievements. The title of ‘The Flying Sikh’ was bequeathed to him by General Ayub Khan, the former President of Pakistan. He was the first Indian male athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at a Commonwealth Games. He also brought several gold medals to his motherland by playing exceptionally in international sporting affairs like the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.


  • Milkha Singh was born into a Sikh Rathore Rajput family in Punjab in undivided India. He witnessed the war of Independence and lost his parents and several siblings during the war. His dying father asked him to run for his life.


  • In 1951, Milkha Singh joined the Indian Army and was posted at the Electrical Mechanical Engineering Centre in Secunderabad. He was chosen by the army for a distinctive training in athletics.


  • In 1956, Milkha Singh was selected to represent India in the 200meters and 400 meters races in Melbourne Olympic Games.


  • The year 1958 brought a feather to his cap. He laid national records for the 200m and 400m races at the National Games of India in Cuttack. He was also declared as the first Indian to win a gold medal in the 400m race at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.


  • His achievements got him promoted from a Sepoy to Junior Commissioned Officer in the army.


  • Milkha Singh also became the Director of Sports in the Punjab Ministry of Education in the later years of his career.


  • Milkha Singh was awarded Padma Shri in the year 1959 for his incredible accomplishments in sports.


  • The legend has donated all his medals to his country which are preserved in a sports museum in Patiala.


  • A Bollywood movie ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’ has been made on his life journey and achievements.




Recommended Reading: Ratan Tata


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