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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Highlights: Milkha Singh cremated with full state honours in Chandigarh

Milkha Singh was the one who put Indian athletics on the world map by winning the gold in the then 440 yards race of the 1958 British and Commonwealth Games.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: June 19, 2021 8:26:30 pm
Milkha SinghOne of independent India's biggest sporting icons was a tormented man but refused to let that come in the way of accomplishments which were unheard of in his era. (Express Archive)

Milkha Singh death reactions updates: Iconic sprinter Milkha Singh was cremated with full state honours on Saturday in Chandigarh, marking the end of an era in which his pioneering accomplishments on the track galvanised a newly-independent India.

Milkha, who was 91, was bid a tearful adieu in the presence of his family members and several dignitaries, including sports minister Kiren Rijiju. ‘The Flying Sikh’, as he was fondly called, died on Friday night due to COVID-19 related complications.

Five days ago, Milkha’s wife, Nirmal Kaur, a former India volleyball captain, had lost her battle with the virus at the same Mohali hospital where the legendary runner breathed his last. Milkha is survived by 14-time international winner and golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh, daughters Mona Singh, Sonia Singh and Aleeza Grover — and a legacy that is part of India’s sporting lore.

Milkha, the Flying Sikh, had tested positive for the virus on May 20 and was admitted to a private hospital in Mohali on May 24. He had been discharged on May 30 before he was admitted to the Covid ward at the Nehru Hospital Extension at PGIMER on June 3 due to dipping oxygen levels. The former Indian athlete had tested negative on Thursday earlier this week and was shifted to the medical ICU.

His condition deteriorated Friday evening as he developed complications, including fever and dipping oxygen saturation levels, after a bout with Covid-19.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took to Twitter to express his condolences over Singh’s demise, described Milkha as a “colossal sportsperson who captured the nation’s imagination”. “In the passing away of Shri Milkha Singh Ji, we have lost a colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation’s imagination and had a special place in the hearts of countless Indians. His inspiring personality endeared himself to millions. Anguished by his passing away,” he tweeted.

Several other politicians and sportspersons also paid glowing tributes to the 1958 Commonwealth Games champion and 1960 Rome Olympian.

Live Blog

Milkha Singh dies at 91; PM Modi, others express condolences

19:24 (IST)19 Jun 2021
A final goodbye

Earlier, today the funeral procession started from Milkha’s Sector 8 residence. His body was carried in a bedecked vehicle, with common people turning up along the short route to the Sector 25 cremation ground to pay their last respects to the legend. The Milkha died on Friday night after a month-long battle with COVID-19. He had lost his former national volleyball captain wife Nirmal Kaur to the same ailment on Sunday.

19:23 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Honours for Milkha Singh

The Punjab government had declared a one-day state mourning and a holiday as a mark of respect to the legend. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier in the day said the Punjab government will accord state funeral to Milkha Singh.

18:17 (IST)19 Jun 2021
His last bow!

A police contingent reversed arms and sounded the last post in the sprinter’s honour. Milkha was also given a gun salute.

18:15 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Dignitaries pay their last respects

Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Haryana’s Sports Minister Sandeep Singh were among the other dignitaries who attended the last rites. Prof Jagat Ram, Director of PGIMER where Milkha was admitted, was also present.

18:15 (IST)19 Jun 2021
A tearful adieu

Milkha, who was 91, was bid a tearful adieu in the presence of his family members and several dignitaries, including sports minister Kiren Rijiju. ‘The Flying Sikh’, as he was fondly called, died on Friday night due to COVID-19 related complications.

17:46 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Sands of time: A glowing tribute
17:45 (IST)19 Jun 2021
‘Stay dedicated’: PT Usha remembers Milkha Singh’s advice

“I met Milkha ji for the first time in 1982 and it was a memorable one. He advised me to focus on participating in international meets to improve my level,” PT Usha told PTI. “Go and run outside the country, only then you can improve yourself."

17:20 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Watch: Milkha Singh mortal remains being carried away
16:44 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Milkha Singh on his last lap
16:08 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Pant pays his respects
15:59 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Throwback with the legend

"My only wish before I leave this planet is to see an Indian on the Olympic podium with the tri-colour flying high and the national anthem being played in the background,” the Padma Shri awardee had said.

15:15 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Indian Cricket Team's tribute to Milkha Singh

National anthems for the first World Test Championship final! Team India is wearing a black armband at Southampton in memory of sporting icon Milkha Singh, who died at the age of 91 due to Covid-19 on Friday. Follow INDvNZ Live Blog

14:46 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Milkha Singh's famous challenge

"Mera record todne wala India mein paida nahi hua (the one who can break my record is not born yet in India)," he had famously said in 1991 and he hung on to that belief even when that record was shattered.

14:13 (IST)19 Jun 2021
A rare video interview

Milkha Singh was a four-time Asian Games gold-medallist and the 1958 Commonwealth Games champion but his greatest performance was a near miss, the fourth place finish in the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics.

13:55 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Film industry pays homage to the sprint icon

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Mohanlal, superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar and others from the Indian film industry mourned the end of an era as they paid tributes to sprint icon Milkha Singh, describing him as an epitome of "hard work" and "determination".

13:27 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Watch a special tribute
13:24 (IST)19 Jun 2021
'Legacy that inspired a whole nation': Virat Kohli
13:04 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Punjab announces State Funeral, Rijiju leaves for Chandigarh

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh has announced a State Funeral to Milkha Singh on Saturday. Also, the state will observe a one-day of State mourning as a mark of respect to the departed legend. Besides, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju also tweeted saying,' I'm leaving for Chandigarh to attend the funeral of #MilkhaSingh Ji. I'm carrying the message of Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji for the family and will pay my tribute to the pride of India, the legendary #FlyingSikh."

12:22 (IST)19 Jun 2021
‘If Milkha Singh was born in present times, no one would be able to break his record in 100 yrs’

Legendary athlete Milkha Singh’s story is one of guts and glory, now the subject of a biopic. In this Idea Exchange moderated by Senior Assistant Editor Nihal Koshie, he talked about the race he ran to finish fourth in the 1960 Rome Olympics and how he cried when he saw Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Read

11:29 (IST)19 Jun 2021
Milkha Singh to be cremated on Saturday evening

Milkha Singh, one of independent India's biggest sporting icons, who died of COVID-19 complications, will be cremated in Chandigarh on Saturday evening. "The cremation will take place at 5 pm today (Saturday)," a spokesperson for the family, said. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condoled his death. "Upset and saddened to hear of Milkha Singh Ji's demise. It marks the end of an era and India & Punjab are poorer today," Amarinder Singh said in a tweet.Upset and saddened to hear of Milkha Singh Ji’s demise. It marks the end of an era and India & Punjab are poorer today. My condolences to the bereaved family & millions of fans. The legend of the Flying Sikh will reverberate for generations to come. Rest in peace Sir! pic.twitter.com/7yK8EOHUnS— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) June 18, 2021

milkha singh, milkha singh passes away, milkha singh death, milkha death, milkha covid, milkha coronavirus, sports news, India news, Indian express Milkha Singh was a four-time Asian Games gold medallist. (File)

Singh, born in Gobindpura – in present day Pakistan – was the first Indian track and field athlete to win gold in the then British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958. He remained the only one for more than 50 years before discus thrower Krishna Poonia won gold at the 2010 CWG in Delhi. Singh had beaten Malcolm Spence of South Africa with a timing of 46.6 seconds in the Scottish city.

While he had also won four Asian Games gold medals – 200m and 400m in 1958, and 400m and 4x400m relay in 1962 – Singh’s most memorable moment came at the 1960 Rome Olympics where he finished fourth in the 400m final in a photo-finish. Singh’s then national record timing of 45.6 seconds, set in Rome, was broken by Paramjeet Singh in 1998.

In 2019, Singh had celebrated his 90th birthday with family members at his Sector 8 residence in Chandigarh. “It’s a special day for me and the whole family but celebrations can wait. The reason I am here to see this day is my fitness regime and that’s what I follow at the start of the day. It’s like a prayer for an athlete like me and I believe that as long as a person is fit, he remains active. When I am not playing golf, I go for a jog for more than two kms at Sukhna Lake. I want people to be passionate about fitness. Whether it is working people or senior citizens, they need to take 10 minutes of physical exercise daily at home or a park and I am glad that I can motivate people at this age too for fitness,” Singh had told The Indian Express that day.

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