We might not have seen you compete, but whenever we ran fast when we were kids we ran like Milkha Singh, Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri summed up what The Flying Sikh meant to the nation, who mourned the end of an era after the nonagenarian icons sprint died.
Milkha died Friday evening at PGIMER Hospital in Chandigarh, less than a week after losing his wife Nirmal Kaur, a former national volleyball captain, to the same illness. He was 91 years old and is survived by his golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh and three daughters.
From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cricket superstars to new age Indian athletic hopefuls like Hima Das, the tributes were not only an admiration for Milkha’s legacy, but also the strong influence he had. on the country’s sporting culture.
Tributes pour in
Modi described him as a colossal sportsman, who captured the imagination of India. One of India’s greatest cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar, has said the Milkha legend will live on. Rest in peace our very own Flying Sikh Milkha Singh ji. Your passing left a deep void in the hearts of every Indian today, but you will continue to inspire generations to come, Tendulkar tweeted.
Perhaps it was Chhetri who best summed up the icon of a generation that did not see him compete but grew up being inspired by his race for a better life that began at age 15 during the partition of India. We might not have seen you compete, but every time we ran fast when we were kids we were running ‘like Milkha Singh’. And for me, it will always be the legend that you leave behind. You didn’t just run, you inspired. Rest in peace, sir. #MilkhaSingh, Chhetri tweeted. .
Hima, a 400m runner herself like Milkha, said the iconic sprinter once told her she was destined for big things. After winning the U20 World Championship title and medal at the Asian Games, I still remember a call from #MilkhaSingh sir Hima keep working hard, you have plenty of time and you can win a medal gold for our country at the global level, she recalled in a tweet. “I will try to make your dream come true sir,” she promised.
Olympic star javelin throwers Neeraj Copra tweeted “We have lost a gem. It will always be an inspiration to every Indian. May their soul rest in peace.” Speaking of the death, Home Secretary Amit Shah said one of India’s brightest sports stars has been lost.
“India mourns the sad passing of legendary sprinter Shri Milkha Singh Ji, The Flying Sikh. He left an indelible mark on world athletics. The nation will always be remembered as one of the sport’s brightest stars. Indian. My deepest condolences to his family and countless followers, “Indian cricket head coach Ravi Shastri also joined the sports fraternity in offering his condolences on his death.
“India’s greatest @Olympics runner. Shook the world in the ’60s with his competitive spirit despite the most limited facilities. He took the word determination and willingness to compete to another level. Respect. God bless your soul Condolences to @JeevMilkhaSingh and his family, “Shastri tweeted.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has expressed “immense sadness at the passing of one of the greatest Indian sportsmen of all time” The Flying Sikh “Milkha Singh.
Indian Athletics Federation President Adille Sumariwalla called Milkha “the Titan who has raised the profile of athletics in a young nation… Her insightful observations on Indian sport will be missed. His imposing heritage will continue to inspire generations of young Indians. Rest in peace. Legend.
A huge loss for the sport of athletics today. Rest well #MilkhaSingh ji, tweeted Olympian Anju Bobby George. Really shocked by the disappearance of the legend Milkha sir. You will always have a very special place in my heart. The Flying Sikh will live forever. RIP, ”said fellow Indian sprinter Muhammed Anas Yahiya.
Former Indian off-wire Harbhajan Singh also expressed his condolences on the microblogging site.
“Very sad, heartbreaking to hear Sikh Sardar Milkha singh ji fly away … waheguru #RIPMilkhaSinghji.” Indian tennis star Sania Mirza said. Really shocked and sad to learn of the passing of legend Milkha Singh ji. Om Shanti, said javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia.
Decorated doubles badminton player Jwala Gutta expressed her sadness. What an inspiration you have been to millions of people like us. There will not be one like you sir the legend of rest in peace #MilkhaSingh “, she posted.
The official grip of the Indian soccer team also mourned Milkha’s death. We join the nation in mourning the loss of the iconic “Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh. His incredible accomplishments will continue to inspire future generations. May his soul rest in peace RIP.
Assam Chief Minister Himanata Biswa Sarma said: “Saddened by the passing of the flying Sikh captain Milkha Singh. Its laurels had not only made India swell with pride, but also inspired generations of sports enthusiasts. My condolences to his family. Om Shanti!
Indian drummer Wriddhiman Saha, squash player Joshna Chinappa and shooter Sanjeev Rajput also paid tribute to the sprint icon. Saddened by the death of #MilkhaSingh ji. RIP the flying Sikh. Inspiration for millions. A great loss for our nation, Saha tweeted.
“Very saddened to learn of the passing of Milkha Singh Sir. A true legend and champion. We will miss you dearly. RIP Sir, wrote Chinappa. A great loss for the nation. Rest in peace legend #MilkhaSingh ji. Om Shanti, Rajput tweeted.
Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu tweeted: “The nation will always remember you for your invaluable contribution and seek inspiration from your life forever. RIP #MilkhaSingh sir.
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