Spirit of India run: Aussie athlete in town today, Milkha ‘snubbed’

Farmer started his 4,400-km long run from Kanyakumari on January 26 and has found support from long-distance athletes in other states.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh | Updated: March 17, 2016 8:39 am
Milkha Singh Milkha Singh

When former Australian MP and Ultra Marathon runner Pat Farmer reaches Chandigarh Thursday during his Spirit of India run, the 54-year-old multiple record holder runner will be hosted by the Chandigarh Administration during his two-day stay.

While Farmer will be be given a welcome at the UT barrier Thursday apart from a flag-off ceremony on Friday morning, the Chandigarh Administration has not invited ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh, Chandigarh long-distance athletes apart from the Chandigarh running community for the event.

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“I have not been invited for such an event. Somebody told me about it recently but there was no invite from the Chandigarh Administration. We have come to see my son (golfer) Jeev Milkha Singh play in the Indian Open in Delhi. It would have been great to meet an athlete such as Parmer. I wish his endeavor all success,” said Milkha Singh, who recently jogged with Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne during her Chandigarh visit.

Farmer started his 4,400-km long run from Kanyakumari on January 26 and has found support from long-distance athletes in other states.

The Australian will run more than 10 km in Chandigarh today from the Zirakpur barrier till UT Guest house and would  start his run again towards Mohali Friday morning.

“It would have been a boost for the young athletes of Chandigarh to run along with Pat Farmer. Many of our athletes have won medals at the national level and a lot of them were enquiring about the run. But we have not got a communication from the UT Administration about the event,” shared Ravinder Chaudhary, secretary, Chandigarh Athletics Association.

The city also sees the presence of running communities like Chandigarh Runners, which has more than 1,600 active members. With no intimation about the event, most of the runners would give the event a miss.

“Most of our group members were curios about the run but we had no idea about the event. More than 20 group members took part in the Delhi Half Marathon last year and a person like Farmer is like an inspiration for all of them.

Running along with him even for 10 km would have been like a running a full marathon for them,” said Chetan Wadhwa, one of the members of Chandigarh Runners.

K S Bharti, Joint Director (Sports, Chandigarh) said the department had invited former players and students for the event. “We have invited some former athletes. Some athletes from Chandigarh will also take part in the run,” said Bharti.

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