Milkha Singh - The Flying Sikh - Flies Away for Ever

Former Indian Sprinter Milkha Singh, also known as Flying Sikh, passed away on June 18 at 11:30 pm. He was admitted to ICU on June 3 due to dipping O2 level. Earlier on May 20, he had tested positive for COVID19.

Milkha Singh (20 November 1929- 19 June 2021), also known as The Flying Sikh, Is an Indian former track and field sprinter who was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Army. He is the only athlete

to win Gold in the 400m at the Asian as well the Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements.

The race for which Singh was best remembered is his fourth-place finish in the 400 metres final at the 1960 Olympic Games, which he had entered as one of the favourites. He led the race till the 200m mark before easing off, allowing others to pass him. Various records were broken in the race, which required a photo-finish and saw American Otis Davis being declared the winner by one-hundredth of a second over German Carl Kaufmann. Singh's fourth-place time of 45.73 seconds was the Indian national record for almost 40 years.

From beginnings that saw him orphaned and displaced during the Partition of India, Singh has become a sporting icon in his country. In 2008, journalist Rohit Brijnath described Singh as "the finest athlete India has ever produced".

Milkha Singh was promoted from the rank of sepoy to junior commissioned officer in recognition of his successes in the 1958 Asian Games. He subsequently became Director of Sports in Punjab Ministry of Education, from which post he had retired by 1998.

Singh had been awarded the Padma Shri following his success in 1958. In 2001, he turned down an offer of the Arjuna Award from the Indian government, arguing that it was intended to recognise young sports people and not those such as him. All of Singh's medals have been donated to the nation.

Singh and his daughter, Sonia Sanwalka, co-wrote his autobiography, titled The Race of My Life (2013). The book inspired Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a 2013 biographical film of Singh's life. The film is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and stars Farhan Akhtar in the lead role

Only 5 days back, His wife, Nirmal Saini, an Indian volleyball player and captain of the India women's national volleyball team passed away, and now He too flies away for ever.

Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi tweeted "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."

It indeed marks end of an era. He was one of the very few who dared to show the world that India has legs and he has got wings too.

ArcOn Design salutes the spirit of the legend and his dedication to his goals. We pray, may his soul be one with the eternal Supreme Conciousness. Om Shanti.

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