Legendary India athlete Milkha Singh on Friday night passed away due to COVID-19 related complications. He was 91.
Milkha is credited with having put Indian athletics on the world map during his storied career. He was a four-time Asian Games gold medallist, 1958 Commonwealth Games champion with his greatest performance being a near miss at the 1960 Rome Olympics when he came agonisingly close to winning a bronze medal in the 400m final.
His on-field achievements got him the sobriquet of ‘The Flying Sikh’.
He contracted covid-19 last month and was admitted to a hospital where he eventually tested negative earlier this week. He showed signs of recovery upon shifting to general ICU but his condition deteriorated on Thursday evening.
Tributes are pouring in from all walks of life with leading former India stars Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble among others mourning Milkha’s demise.
“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,” Tendulkar posted on his Twitter handle.
Sehwag said Milkha’s name will be synonymous with courage and will-power.
“The great man #MilkaSingh ji has left us in body, but the name Milkha will always live on as being synonymous with courage and will-power. What a man. My sincere condolences to his family. Om Shanti,” Sehwag said.
Former India spinner Anil Kumble called him a true legend and an icon.
“Deeply saddened to hear the passing of Milkha SinghJi. His legacy will live on… a true legend and an icon. Condolences to his family and friends,” Kumble wrote.
India offspinner Harbhajan Singh said, “Very sad,heartbreaking to hear flying sikh Sardar Milkha singh ji is no more… waheguru RIPMilkhaSinghji.”
Milkha also lost his wife Nirmal Kaur, a former national volleyball captain, due to coronavirus. He is survived by his golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh and three daughters.