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Milkha singh

The Legend

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Indiarunning
4 Jul, 24 | 10:43 AM7 min read
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At IndiaRunning, we're honored to present the story of Milkha Singh, an athlete whose legacy transcends the boundaries of sports, determination, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit.

Milkha Singh, affectionately known as the 'Flying Sikh,' was born in 1929 in Govindpura, now in Pakistan. His life, marked by the partition tragedy. Overcoming personal loss and hardship, Milkha's journey is one of inspiration and passion.

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Singh’s introduction to athletics was almost serendipitous. He joined the Indian Army in 1951, where his talent for running was first noticed. From running the cross-country races organized by the army to represent India on the global stage, his ascent was meteoric.

In 1958, Milkha's career took a pivotal turn. He set a new national record in the 200m and 400m events at the Cuttack National Games, announcing his arrival in Indian athletics. But it was his performance at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff that truly put him on the world map. He clinched the gold in the 400m event, becoming the first Indian male athlete to win a Commonwealth gold. His performance at the 1960 Rome Olympics was a heartbreakingly close call. Milkha finished fourth in the 400m, missing the bronze by a whisker. Despite the disappointment, this race immortalized him in Indian sports history. His timing of 45.6 seconds was a national record that stood for almost four decades.

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Milkha’s victories at the Asian Games in 1958 and 1962, where he won multiple gold medals, further established his status as a legendary athlete. His rigorous training regimen, fierce dedication, and the sheer will to succeed against all odds have been a source of inspiration for generations.

Throughout his life he gave his service to sports in one or other way. He was the director of sports in the Ministry of Education, Punjab Government. He retired from this post in 1998. Milkha Singh's life story, beyond his athletic achievements, is a narrative of overcoming adversity. From the trauma of partition to the struggles of his early life, he rose above challenges to create a legacy that is about much more than medals and records. It's a story of human spirit, hardwork and the pursuit of excellence.

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Milkha's message to young athletes and dreamers was always clear – hard work, dedication, and passion are the cornerstones of success. His life journey, detailed in his autobiography and the biographical film ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag,’ continues to motivate and encourage athletes and non-athletes alike. Milkha singh left the world on 18th June 2021 leaving a legacy which is unachievable.

As we recount the legend of Milkha Singh, we are reminded that true greatness lies not just in victories, but in the courage to pursue one's dreams against all odds. Milkha Singh didn't just run races; he ran a legacy that will continue to inspire countless future generations.

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