Milkha Singh

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Milkha Singh, The Flying Sikh

Milkha Singh (birthdate, 20th Nov 1929 – 18 June 2021) with the sobriquet The Flying Sikh, is a former Indian track and field sprinter. His career in track sports started in the Indian Army. As of 2013, he is the only Indian male athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at a Commonwealth Games. He represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.


  • My most enduring memory of that year is not the birth of India and Pakistan. I could not even comprehend what was happening. As a teenager from a backward village in Pakistan, I had never seen a cycle, car or train. I was completely bewildered at the turn of events. All that mattered was how to get my next meal, usually a roti and an onion.
  • I would not stop till I had filled up a bucket with my sweat. I would push myself so much that in the end I would collapse and I would have to be admitted to hospital, I would pray to God to save me, promise that I would be more careful in future. And then I would do it all over again.
    • A BBC quote in Flying Sikh': Indian sprinter Milkha Singh biopic set for release."
  • The track, to me, was like an open book, in which I could read the meaning and purpose of life. I revered it like I would the sanctum sanctorum in a temple, where the deity resided and before whom I would humbly prostrate myself as a devotee. To keep myself steadfast to my goal, I renounced all pleasures and distractions, to keep myself fit and healthy, and dedicated my life to the ground where I could practice and run. Running had thus become my God, my religion and my beloved,
  • I was moved to tears by the thought that from being nobody the night before, I had become somebody.
  • Our American coach, Dr. [Arthur W] Howard, had accompanied the Indian team [to Cardiff] ….Because of Dr. Howard's motivation and advice, I won heat after heat and effortlessly reached the finals.
  • He emphasized that I must maintain my speed for the first 300 metres, and then give it my all in the last 100 metres. He said that if I ran the first 300 metres at full speed, Spence would do the same, although that was not his running strategy.
    • At the 1958 Commonwealth Games, Milkha describes how Dr. Howard, the American coach built the strategy to outrace his biggest threat Milkha At Midnight. Retrieved on 13 December 2013.
  • Discipline, hard work, will power....My experience made me so hard that I wasn't even scared of death." But one story reflects his desire clearest.

The Race of My Life: An Autobiography Milkha Singh (2013)


Sanwalka, Soina (August 2013). The Race of My Life: An Autobiography Milkha Singh. Rupa. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-81-291-2910-9. 

  • When I reflect upon my life, I can clearly see how my passion for running has dominated my life. The images that flash through my mind are those running....running…running…
  • Sprinting from one shady patch to another to escape the blistering heat of the sun on my journey to school
    Felling the massacre on that fearsome night when most of my family was slaughtered
    racing trains for fun
    outrunning the police when I was caught stealing in Shahdra
    leaving every one behind in my first race as an army jawan so that I could get an extra glass of milk
    surging past my competitors in Tokyo when I was declared Asia’s best athlete
    Running in Pakistan and being hailed as "The Flying Sikh".
  • Each of these moments brings back bitter sweet memories as they represent the different stages of my life, a life that has been kept afloat by my intense determination to triumph in my chosen vocation
  • You can achieve anything in life. It just depends on how desperate you are to achieve it.
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