The 91-year-old passed away on June 18 in Chandigarh.
One of the greatest Indian athletes of all time, Milkha Singh passed away on June 18 at the age of 91 owing to COVID-19 complications. Popularly known as ‘The Flying Sikh’, the legendary Indian sprinter contracted the virus on May 20. He was then admitted to a private hospital in Mohali on May 24.
The Olympian had lost his wife, Nirmal Kaur, on June 13, due to COVID-19 related complications. The sprinter was the first Indian athlete to win Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958.
Several sportspersons and politicians took to Twitter to pay their respect towards the recently departed Indian great, Milkha Singh.
Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and several other eminent politicians paid their respects to Milkha Singh on Twitter.
“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,” PM Modi tweeted.
“I had spoken to Shri Milkha Singh Ji just a few days ago. Little did I know that it would be our last conversation. Several budding athletes will derive strength from his life journey. My condolences to his family and many admirers all over the world,” he added.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Chief Minister of Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh also paid their heartfelt tributes.
Amit Shah stated, “India mourns the sad demise of legendary sprinter Shri Milkha Singh Ji, The Flying Sikh. He has left an indelible mark on world athletics. Nation will always remember him as one of the brightest stars of Indian sports. My deepest condolences to his family and countless followers.”
Kiren Rijiju tweeted, “India has lost its star. Milkha Singh Ji has left us but he will continue to inspire every Indian to shine for India. My deepest condolences to the family. I pray for his soul to rest in peace.”
He also announced that he would travel to Chandigarh to attend Milkha Singh’s funeral. “I’m leaving for Chandigarh to attend the funeral of Milkha Singh Ji. I’m carrying the message of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji for the family and will pay my tribute to the pride of India, the legendary Flying Sikh.”
Chief Minister of Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh tweeted, “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!”
He also announced that that one day of state mourning will be observed in honour of the legend. Amarinder Singh said, “Have directed that Late Milkha Singh Ji will be given a State Funeral by our Government. Also, Punjab will observe one day of State mourning as a mark of respect to the departed legend.”
Owing to his terrific performance in the 1960 Rome Olympics, Milkha Singh became a national icon. He had narrowly missed out a podium place, after a fourth place finish in the 400m event.
Member of Parliament and Athens 2004 Silver-medalist Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said, “Tributes to The Flying Sikh We will forever remember legendary sprinter Sh. Milkha Singh Ji for his grit, determination, and perseverance. He will continue to inspire generations of Indians. His legacy will live on. My deepest condolences to Jeev Milkha Singh Ji.”
Several Indian athletes such as Abhinav Bindra, Mary Kom, P.T. Usha, Anju Bobby George, Sandeep Singh, Manu Bhaker, Bajrang Punia, Neeraj Chopra, Sharath Kamal, Hima Das, Sania Mirza and Jwala Gutta paid their respects to the legendary sprinter.
Abhinav Bindra tweeted, “Saddened to hear about the passing away of the great Milkha Singh ji. May god give strength to his family to overcome this irreparable loss.”
Mary Kom quipped, “Really sad about the demise of our national hero and a legend Shri Milkha Singh ji. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. RIP”
P.T. Usha said about her idol, “Dark clouds of sadness prevail with the demise of my idol and inspiration Milkha Singh ji. His story of sheer determination and hard work inspired millions and will continue to do so. As a tribute to him, students of Usha School paid homage to the legend. Rest in Peace”
Anju Bobby George tweeted, “A huge loss for the sport of athletics today. Rest well Milkha Singh ji.”
Former Indian national hockey team captain Sandeep Singh tweeted, “The whole sporting world and sports fans are sad due to the death of The Flying Sikh Milkha Singh. We have lost someone who has inspired youths. May his soul rest in peace.”
Teenage shooting sensation Manu Bhaker tweeted, “Farewell Milkha Singh ji. He was the first Indian superstar who not only ran but flied. The nation is proud of him.”
Tokyo Olympics bound wrestler Bajrang Punia said, “I learned from you that “it’s willpower, not skill” and “it’s never easy but you get better”. we will be forever grateful to you for inspiring an entire nation and making is believe in the spirit sportsmanship. may you rest in peace. #MilkhaSingh sir. Om Shanti.”
Tokyo-bound javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra said, “We lost a Gem. He will always remain as an inspiration for every Indian. May his soul Rest in peace.”
Table tennis star Sharath Kamal stated, “Indian sports has lost a true gem. An athlete par excellence, and a genuine role model. My deepest condolences to #MilkhaSingh ji’s family. May his soul rest in peace!”
Ace Indian sprinter Hima Das also took to Twitter to pay her respect. She tweeted, “Heartbreaking to hear that flying Sikh legend Milkha Singh sir is no more. The nation will always remember you sir and seek an inspiration from your life forever. RIP Milkha Singh sir.”
Milkha Singh became the first-ever Indian athlete to win an individual Gold in the Commonwealth Games. He finished on top of the pile in the men’s 400 yards event. His achievement was unmatched for many years to come.
Tennis star Sania Mirza stated, “Had the honour of meeting you and you blessed me so many times .. the kindest and warmest. RIP Milkha Singh sir .. the world will miss a legend like you ..”
Jwala Gutta expressed, “What an inspiration you were to the millions like us…. There will be none like you sir. Rest in peace legend #MilkhaSingh.”
Several legendary Indian cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh also paid their heartfelt condolences to Milkha Singh.
Sachin Tendulkar tweeted, “Rest in Peace our very own ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh ji. Your demise has left a deep void in every Indian’s heart today, but you shall keep inspiring several generations to come.”
Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly stated, “Extremely saddened by this news ..RIP ,India’s one of the greatest sportsman..you have made young Indians dream of becoming an athlete..had the privilege of knowing you so closely ..”
Virat Kohli tweeted, “A legacy that inspired a whole nation to aim for excellence. To never give up and chase your dreams. Rest in Peace Milkha Singh ji. You will never be forgotten.”
Harbhajan Singh said, “Very sad,heartbreaking to hear flying sikh Sardar Milkha singh ji is no more.. waheguru RIP Milkha Singh ji”
Milkha Singh had also claimed four Gold medals in back-to-back Asian Games in Tokyo and Jakarta.
Yuvraj Singh tweeted, “Heartbreaking news of the passing away of Milkha Singh ji. His life and accomplishments will continue to inspire millions and in these memories, he will be eternal. My deepest condolences to Jeev and the family.”
Several sports organizations of the country such as Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Sports Authority of India (SAI), Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the Indian Football Team (AIFF) also paid their respects towards the bereaved athlete.
AFI tweeted, “A Titan who lifted the profile of athletics in a young nation, his sharp observations on Indian sport will be missed. His towering legacy will continue to inspire generations of young Indians. Rest in peace legend.”
SAI tweeted, “SAI learns with immense sadness of the demise of one of India’s greatest ever sportspersons “The Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh. A gold medalist at the CWG & Asian Games, he held the 400m National record for 38 years. Condolences to his family & the millions whom he inspired.”
BAi also tweeted, “A true embodiment of never giving up. Lead by examples and inspired generations. His legacy will live in our hearts forever. Rest in peace, legend.”
The Government of India has duly recognized Milkha Singh’s efforts. In 1959, he became the first-ever athlete and the third sportsperson to be conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award, the fourth-highest civilian award in India.
The All India Football Federation also paid their respects. “We join the nation in mourning the loss of the iconic ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh. His incredible achievements will continue to inspire future generations. May his soul rest in peace.”
Several current Indian national football team stars also laid down their respects in honour of ‘The Flying Sikh’.
The Indian National team captain Sunil Chhetri tweeted, “We may not have seen you compete, but every time we ran fast as kids, we ran ‘like Milkha Singh’. And for me, that will always be the legend you leave behind. You didn’t just run, you inspired. Rest in peace, sir.”
The national team shot stopper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu stated, “To be able to share the same space with you will forever be a moment I will keep with me. RIP”
Another national team goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh also tweeted about the athlete. He said, “A hero, an inspiration, a legend. His legacy will live on for generations to come. Rest in Peace, Milkha Singh Sir.”
Rest in peace Milkha Singh. Gone, but will never be forgotten. Your achievements will continue to inspire Indian athletes forever.
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