The legend soars

Issue 02, 2021

The legend soars

Shrabasti Anindita Mallik |author

Issue 02, 2021


Milkha Singh (November 20, 1929 – June 18, 2021) was more than just a sprinter of international repute. He won India’s first gold medal at the Commonwealth Games of 1958 in 400 m – the only male Indian sprinter to hold the honour for 56 years – and set a new national record. As India mourns the loss of the ‘Flying Sikh’ (as Singh was fondly called), we bring you glimpses of the life and achievements of this exemplary sportsperson

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (extreme left), with Milkha Singh (extreme right) and Mohinder Singh at the Empire Games Village ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, the UK, in 1958. Milkha Singh clocked 46.6 seconds to win a gold medal in the 440-yard athletics category at the event


Milkha Singh with his son Jeev Milkha Singh, a four-time European Tour golf champion and two-time Asia number one


(Right):Milkha Singh carries the Olympic Flame during the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay in June 2004, in New Delhi. In celebration of the games being hosted in its country of origin (Greece), a global torch relay was organised. Singh was chosen as he had represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo,(Left):Milkha Singh at the second edition of the Indian Sports Honours annual ceremony in Mumbai on September 27, 2019


An archival photograph of Milkha Singh prior to competing on a grass track at an athletics meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1960. A 1959 Padma Shri awardee, Singh was serving in the Indian Army when he realised his abilities as a sprinter


Legendary athlete Milkha Singh at the unveiling of his wax statue in September 2017, in Chandigarh. The statue is displayed at Madame Tussauds museum in New Delhi


Milkha Singh interacts with children fighting against thalassemia and blood cancer during a special screening of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (a Bollywood film based on the life of Milkha Singh), organised by an NGO on August 10, 2013, in Mumbai


(left to right in jerseys) Milkha Singh, Misha Soni (five-times national ladies squash champion), Abhinav Bindra (Olympic Gold medallist shooter), the world’s most-capped hockey player Dilip Tirkey (former captain of the Indian hockey team), Kelly Holmes (British Olympian), Monty Panesar (British cricket player), Lord Sebastian Coe (British Olympian) and Gurbachan Singh Randhawa (former decathlete and current selection committee chairman of the Athletics Federation of India) during the launch of the XIX Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games outside Buckingham Palace in London on October 29, 2009

Illustration: Dhirendra Singh Jethuri

Shrabasti Anindita Mallik

A graduate of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Shrabasti Anindita Mallik has worked with MyCityLinks, a Bhubaneshwar-based tabloid, and New Delhi-based The Pioneer newspaper. She actively writes on travel, Indian culture and traditions, music and any subject that intrigues her.
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