By Asia Samachar | INDIA |
Milkha Singh, legendary sprinter famous as the Flying Sikh, died of post-Covid complications at a hospital in Chandigarh, at 11.30 pm on Friday (18 June). He was 91.
The 1958 Commonwealth Games champion and 1960 Rome Olympian had tested positive for the virus on May 20 and was admitted to a private hospital in Mohali, Punjab, on May 24.
“He fought hard but God has his ways and it was perhaps true love and companionship that both our mother Nirmal ji and now Dad have passed away in a matter of 5 days,” his son and golfer Jeev Milkha Singh said in a statement.
Nirmal Kaur, Milkha’s wife and former Indian spiker and Indian national volleyball team captain, had succumbed to Covid-19 complication on 13 June. She was 85.
Milkh, born in Gobindpura – in present day Pakistan – was the first Indian track and field athlete to win gold in the then British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958. He remained the only one for more than 50 years before discus thrower Krishna Poonia won gold at the 2010 CWG in Delhi. Singh had beaten Malcolm Spence of South Africa with a timing of 46.6 seconds in the Scottish city, reports The Indian Express.
While he had also won four Asian Games gold medals – 200m and 400m in 1958, and 400m and 4x400m relay in 1962 – Singh’s most memorable moment came at the 1960 Rome Olympics where he finished fourth in the 400m final in a photo-finish. Singh’s then national record timing of 45.6 seconds, set in Rome, was broken by Paramjeet Singh in 1998, the report added.
Nirmal Milkha Singh, like her husband, hawked newspaper headlines in late 60s and early 70s, first as an athlete and later as an outstanding volleyball player. She led Indian women’s volleyball team in international matches, including Sri Lanka.
It was during her posting as a Physical Education teacher at a Ropar College that she met Flying Sikh Milkha Singh and later they got married. She served the Punjab Sports Department as Deputy Director before joining the Chandigarh Administration on deputation as Joint Director as well as Secretary, Chandigarh Sports Council.
The couple is survived by three daughters – Mona Singh, Aleeza Grover and Sonia Sanwalka as well as Jeev Milkha.
Milkha Singh’s wife Nirmal Kaur loses battle to Covid-19 (Asia Samachar, 14 June 2021)