Just before Canada’s Ontario province premier Kathleen Wynne made her way to the Sukhna Lake jogging track, ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh was approached by two young athletes who sought his autograph. With UT Administrator Vijay Dev also present for the one-km jog that Wynne had promised Singh during his Canada visit last year, the heavy police presence meant that the two youngsters were at a distance. “Aa jao bacheyo,” Singh called the youngsters. And as more morning walkers joined in for pictures, Singh said, “Let me do this after the jog.”
Singh welcomed Wynne with a bouquet. “You look even fitter than me,” Wynne told him. Moments later, as Singh matched Wynne and Dev in the jog, the octogenarian former athlete was still smiling. “Today, we not only ran. We have also created a bond of friendship between Canada and India. I met Wynne during my previous visit to Canada and she had promised me about this run in Chandigarh. Punjabis too play a major role in Canada’s development and there are a lot of Punjabis who play sport in Canada. I also urge Wynne today to create an exchange programme for young athletes from this region to train in Canada and vice versa,” said Singh. As Singh showed Wynne the place where he had trained in the late 1960s and ‘70s, Wynne also recalled her experience of running in Canada. India’s ‘blade runner’ Maj (Retd) D P Singh also present on the occasion.
“Milkha Singh has been a role model for athletes in India as well as in Canada. I appreciate his efforts and I feel privileged to be a part of this run in India. We will also consider Singh’s idea of a training programme for Indian athletes and I will ask my office to follow this up,” Wynne told reporters.
For athlete Haravtar Singh, who trains at Sector 7 Sports Complex, the run was also an opportunity to see Milkha Singh. “We had only seen him on TV. We often hear about him.. .But seeing Milkha Singh run motivated me a lot,” said Haravtar.