July 20, 2020 By Swapnil Suryawanshi

Milkha Singh (मिलखा सिंह)

Indian Track and Field Athlete

Born into a Sikh Rathore family in Govindpura, Muzaffargarh in West Punjab, Milkha Singh is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest athletes. His forefathers, who were originally from Rajasthan, were ironsmiths. His father was a farmer with a small land holding. Partition separated Mr. Singh from both his family and home, forcing him to forge his own path. His story is also captured in the film ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’.

‘Bhaag Milkha, Bhaag’

Milkha Singh was around 15 years old at the time of Partition. His village, Kot Addu, was located in a remote area near Multan. No newspapers reached the village, and the villagers were unaware of the political events leading up to partition. The only way they received news was when someone travelled to the closest city to buy goods.

But inter-community relations were strong. People lived in harmony. Mr. Singh studied in a mosque alongside students of different faiths. At the time, kabaddi and wrestling were popular sports.

Who was Milkha Singh coach :

Meet Milkha’s coach. Cricketer-turned-actor Yograj Singh, far better known as Yuvraj Singh’s father, plays Ranbir Singh, Milkha Singh’s (Farhan Akhtar) coach in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

Did Milkha Singh won Olympic medal :

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.

Where is Milkha Singh house :

The front yard of Milkha Singh’s home in Chandigarh bustles with activity. Tailorbirds and parrots flit about the flower plants near the lawn. A squirrel scurries past the lawn, scaring off cooing doves. The ‘flying Sikh’ breezes into the house, wearing an elegant sunhat.

Nirmal Saini volleyball player Milkha Singh’s wife :

Nirmal Kaur Milkha Singh Saini or Nirmal Kaur was the Indian Women’s Volleyball Team Captain.

  • This unique signed photograph has been autographed by Milkha Singh. A living legend and the heartthrob of millions of fans worldwide, he is one of the most decorated sportsperson of all time.
  • Having received the Padma Shri, this signed photograph will be a delight for any fan who wants to celebrate the charisma and phenomenon named Milkha Singh.
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The legend of Milkha Singh has survived more than five decades and continues to be one of the most inspiring stories in Indian sports.

For the record, the legendary athlete who was orphaned during the Partition riot, was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Army. He was the first Indian athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, a record which remained intact till 2010. He represented India in three Olympics from 1956-1964. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements.

The race for which Singh is best remembered is his fourth-place finish in the 400 metres final at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, which he had entered as one of the favourites. He led the race for some time before easing off, allowing others to pass him. Various records were broken in the race, which required a photo-finish and witnessed 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 became the Indian national record and held for almost 40 years.  He won four gold medals in the Asian Games from 1958-1962 in the 200m, 400m and 4X400m relay.

 Where did you pick up this type of tough training…the intense concentration :

It was at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. As you know I was a surprise selection as I stood first in the trials, beating the national champion and other leading contenders. At Melbourne, I was determined that I should learn something that I could take back to India. I met Charles Jenkins, who won the gold in 400m, and many others. From them I learnt that the secret of success was hard work and dedication. I never forgot that.

Very few people know about the existence of Milkha Singh Colony in the serene ambience of EME Centre in the Secunderabad Cantonment area. Named after the legendary athlete, it has great significance as it was here that Singh, who missed a bronze medal by a whisker in the 400m event at the 1960 Rome Olympics, had his baptism in athletics.

He would run every morning from his barracks which would be in the cantonment area. “I feel very happy that they have named a colony after me,” said the ‘Flying Sikh’ from Chandigarh.
Getting nostalgic, the 90-year-old said he had very fond memories of Secunderabad and Hyderabad. “I was in Secunderabad from 1952 to 1960 when I was recruited in EME Centre.”

Independent India’s first individual sports star, Milkha Singh dominated Indian track and field for over a decade with his speed and spirit, creating multiple records and winning numerous medals in his career.

Representing India at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Milkha Singh remained the greatest Olympian from India for decades with his phenomenal displays.

Born on 20 November 1929 into a Sikh family in Govindpura, which is now a part of Pakistan, Milkha Singh was introduced to the sport only after he had fled to India post the partition and joined the Indian Army.

It was in the army where he sharpened his running skills. After he finished sixth in a cross-country race that had around 400 more soldiers running, he was handpicked for further training. That laid the foundation for what would be an impressive career.

Early life :

Milkha Singh was born on 21 November 1929 according to records in Pakistan, although other official records various state 17 October 1935 and 20 November 1935.His birthplace was Govindpura, a village 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Muzaffargarh city in Punjab ProvinceBritish India (now Muzaffargarh DistrictPakistan) in a Sikh Rajput (Rathore) family. He was one of 15 siblings, eight of whom died before the Partition of India. He was orphaned during the Partition, when his parents, a brother and two sisters were killed in the violence that ensued. He witnessed these killings.

Records and honours :