Chandigarh: Legendary sprinter Milkha Singh breathed his last on Friday night. He was 91 years old and came out as the winner after a strong fight against COVID-19. His corona test came negative on Wednesday. Milkha was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of PGIMER Hospital in Chandigarh. The Milkha family issued a statement confirming the passing away of the legendary sprinter.
The former athlete, also known as the ‘Flying Sikh’, was admitted to PGIMER on June 3 after oxygen levels dropped after being treated at Mohali’s Fortis Hospital for a week.
Milkha Singh has won gold medal in Asian Games gold medallist four times and also won gold medal in 1958 Commonwealth Games. However, the 91-year-old is best remembered for his epic race in the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics. He has also represented India in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics and was awarded the Padma Shri in 1959.
On June 13, Nirmal Kaur, wife of Milkha Singh, died due to corona. Singh is survived by three daughters Dr. Mona Singh, Alija Grover, Sonia Sanwalka and son Jeev Milkha Singh. Golfer Jeev, who is a 14-time international champ, is also a Padma Shri awardee like his father. Milkha Singh’s family also issued a statement after his death.
They struggled a lot but God has his ways and perhaps it was true love and companionship that both our mother Nirmal ji and now father have passed away, the family statement said.
The family said, “We are grateful to the doctors at PGI for their valiant efforts and for the love and prayers they have received from around the world and from ourselves. We thank you.”
Milkha became popular when he finished fourth in the 1960 Rome Olympic Games with a timing of 45.6 seconds. By that time, it was the closest an Indian athlete has ever won an individual Olympic medal.
Later, of course, P.T. Usha missed out on a bronze medal in the 400 meters race at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. She clocked 55.42 seconds and missed out on the bronze medal by just 0.01 seconds.
After decades, a Bollywood film was made on Milkha Singh. “Professor Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER expressed his deepest condolences on the sad demise of this ‘most iconic’ sports icon who will be remembered for his extraordinary achievements on and off the field and for his endearing and human personality,” a PGIMER statement said.