The Flying Sikh: The One Who Could Beat The Wind
“Don’t be afraid of moving slowly, be afraid of standing still”, one of the most inspirational quotes delivered by the legendary Milkha Singh. His determination was not only encouraging to those pursuing their dreams in the sports industry, but to the entire nation.
Milkha Singh, one of India’s greatest athletes, has passed away at the age of 91, after a month-long battle with COVID-19. He was battling the complications that arose from the disease and he was admitted to the hospital due to falling oxygen levels. He passed away in the hospital in Chandigarh on 18th June 2021. Notably, his 85-year-old wife, Nirmal Kaur, also passed away on 13th June 2021 due to serious conditions from COVID-19. His children believe that it was perhaps true love and companionship that both their parents passed away within 5 days.
The legend of Milkha Singh has been famous for almost five decades. He was an Indian track-and-field athlete who became the first Indian male athlete to reach the finale of the 1960 Olympic games in Rome and placed fourth in the 400-metre race. His record of finishing the race in 45.73 seconds became the Indian national record and held it for almost 40 years. Moreover, he was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian army and he was the first Indian athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Milkha Singh: an inspiration
Milkha Singh will forever be one of the most inspiring stories and idols in India’s history. He was an army man and a track legend who demanded excellence from all those who represented the country at the biggest sporting events. Mr Singh always acknowledged that he was shaped as a battle-hardened individual because of his childhood experience in Pakistan and youth in India. If there is something we all know collectively, it is that he was the epitome of resilience, hard work, and determination.
Not only did he inspire young athletes to pursue their dream, but he also taught us that it is possible to achieve anything if you put your mind, soul, and heart into it. His secret for success was hard work and a vision to thrive. Mr Singh certainly did not stop until he achieved his dreams, and he will always remain the iconic individual, who achieved all his dreams and became a role model for everyone despite his hardships and external circumstances.
Achievements of Milkha Singh
Milkha Singh had achieved several awards, medals, and tokens of recognition for his success and determination. Some of them are highlighted below:
– In the 1958 Asian Games, he won gold medals for the 200m and 400m race.
– He won a gold medal in the 1958 Commonwealth Games for the 440m race. He was the only athlete to win gold medals for the 400m race at both Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
– He represented India in the following games: the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
– In recognition of his sporting achievements, Mr Singh won a Padma Shri in 1959.
Many celebrities and sportsmen are grieving over the demise of Milkha Singh and believe that his death created a void in the world that will be difficult to fill. Mr Singh’s daughter wrote his autobiography titled “The Race of My Life”, in 2013.
Milkha Singh’s inspiration reached sportsmen in different field of sports as well. One of India’s greatest cricketers of all time, Sachin Tendulkar tweeted, “Rest in peace our very own ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh Ji. Your demise has left a deep void in every Indian’s heart today, but you shall keep inspiring several generations to come.” Mr Singh was called “a Titan who lifted the profile of athletics in a young nation” by the president of the Athletics Federation of India, Adille Sumariwalla.
As Modi said, “Several budding athletes will derive strengths from his life journey.” Milkha Singh will continue to be an inspiration to those who are looking for strength and resilience to achieve their dreams. His inspiring personality endeared him to many young athletes and aspiring runners. He will always remain an idol for everyone and hold a special place in everyone’s hearts. We live in a society where we end up limiting our potential and capabilities because of our insecurities. Mr Singh will always be alive in our thoughts and prayer hall .