|Milkha Singh Quick Info
|5 ft 7 in
|Date of Birth
|November 20, 1929
|Date of Death
|June 18, 2021
Milkha Singh was an Indian track and field sprinter who is best remembered for his fourth-place finish in the 400 meters final at the 1960 Olympic Games and his fourth-place time of 45.73 seconds was the Indian national record for almost 40 years. He became the first athlete to win gold in 400 meters race at the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. It was the Indian Army that played a major role in his athletic pursuits and he also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games as well as represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Following his success in 1958, he was honored with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award.
The Flying Sikh
He was born on November 20, 1929.
On June 18, 2021, the legendary sprinter passed away at the age of 91 due to COVID-19 complications in Chandigarh, India.
Govindpura, Punjab, British India
- Siblings – Ishvar (Sister), Malkhan (Brother). Milkha Singh had 14 siblings in total.
5 ft 7 in or 170 cm
68 kg or 150 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Milkha Singh had dated –
- Nirmal Saini (1962-2021) – In 1955, he met Nirmal Saini, a former captain of the Indian women’s volleyball team, in Ceylon. They got married in 1962 and had 3 daughters and a son, the golfer Jeev Milkha Singh. Later, in 1999, the couple adopted the 7-year-old son of Havildar Bikram Singh, who had died in the Battle of Tiger Hill. Milkha Singh and Nirmal Saini remained together until her death on June 13, 2021, and only after a few days, Milkha Singh died too.
Race / Ethnicity
Milkha Singh was of Sikh descent.
Salt and Pepper
Beard and mustache
Milkha Singh Favorite Things
- One Of His Favorite Races – The 400 meters final at the 1960 Olympic Games in which he secured the fourth-place finish
Source – Wikipedia
Milkha Singh Facts
- Eight out of his 14 siblings died before the Partition of India.
- He had a traumatic childhood as he was orphaned during the Partition when his parents, a brother, and two sisters were killed in the violence and he witnessed these killings.
- Due to the continued killings of Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab, Milkha Singh shifted to Delhi, India, in 1947 and lived for a short time with the family of his married sister.
- He experienced brief imprisonment at Tihar jail for traveling on a train without a ticket. Then, his sister Ishvar sold some of her jewelry to obtain his release.
- Some of his time in Delhi was spent at a refugee camp in Purana Qila and at a resettlement colony in Shahdara.
- There was a phase in his life when Milkha Singh considered becoming a dacoit but his brother, Malkhan, intervened and persuaded him to attempt recruitment to the Indian Army.
- On his 4th attempt, Milkha Singh succeeded to make a place for himself in the Indian Army in 1951 and when he was stationed at the Electrical Mechanical Engineering Centre in Secunderabad, he was introduced to athletics.
- Acknowledging the army’s key role in introducing him to the sport of running, he once stated, “I came from a remote village, I didn’t know what running was, or the Olympics”. However, when he was a child, he had run the 10 km distance to and from school.
- After Milkha Singh finished 6th in a compulsory cross-country run for new recruits, he was selected by the army for special training in athletics.
- He turned down an offer of the Arjuna Award from the Indian government in 2001.
- Journalist Rohit Brijnath described Singh as “the finest athlete India has ever produced” in 2008.
- The film titled Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is based on the life of Milkha Singh and was released in 2013. Farhan Akhtar portrayed Milkha Singh in the film and Singh sold the movie rights for one rupee but inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust.
- After he tested positive for COVID-19 in 2021, he was admitted to the intensive care unit at Fortis Hospital in Mohali on May 24, 2021, with pneumonia caused by COVID-19. Although his condition was described as stable for a while, he died on June 18, 2021, at 11:30 pm IST.
Featured Image by Sanyam Bahga / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0