Chandigarh, June 18
Milkha Singh, the Flying Sikh, has flown — and it’s clear that there will be none like him again. The 91-year-old’s fight with Covid-19 ended late Friday night at the PGI, where he had been undergoing treatment for the dreaded virus which took his wife Nirmal’s life five days ago.
He will be cremated at 5 pm on Saturday with full state honours.
His mortal remains have been kept at his Sector 8 residence.
Milkha Singh, who tested positive for Covid-19 on May 20 after a domestic help at his residence was found infected, was initially admitted to a Mohali hospital before being brought home on May 30. However, he was admitted to the PGI after his oxygen levels fell.
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Milkha’s death brings the curtain down on the extraordinary story of this remarkable athlete, whose exploits were retold to the new generation through cinema with the movie Bhag Milkha Bhag.
Born in Gobindpura — now in Pakistan — on November 30, 1928, Milkha was violently uprooted from his birthplace by the Partition when riots took the lives of his parents, two sisters and a brother.
His life changed for the better when Milkha joined the Army, and it was in this institution that his amazing talent was identified and nurtured.
Milkha became the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 400m division at Cardiff in 1958.
The same year, he did the 200m-400m double at the Tokyo Asian Games.
His most famous race, however, is the 400m final at the 1964 Olympic Games, where he was one of the favourites to get a medal — which he missed by a whisker, ending up fourth.
After his career ended, Milkha became a sports administrator.
He is survived by one son — golfer Jeev Milkha Singh — and three daughters.
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. pic.twitter.com/h99RNbXI28— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 18, 2021
India mourns the sad demise of legendary sprinter Shri Milkha Singh Ji, The Flying Sikh. He has left an indelible mark on world athletics. Nation will always remember him as one of the brightest stars of Indian sports. My deepest condolences to his family and countless followers. pic.twitter.com/HsHMXYHypx— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) June 18, 2021
Upset and saddened to hear of Milkha Singh Ji’s demise. It marks the end of an era and India & Punjab are poorer today. My condolences to the bereaved family & millions of fans. The legend of the Flying Sikh will reverberate for generations to come. Rest in peace Sir! pic.twitter.com/7yK8EOHUnS— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) June 18, 2021
Saddened to hear about the demise of Shri Milkha Singh Ji. A legendary sportsman, he will be dearly remembered.— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 18, 2021
My sincere condolences to his family, loved ones and fans across the world.
Srinagar GMC and Sher-e-Kashmir Medical Sciences students sp...
Shah was on a four-day visit to the Union territory