Milkha Singh is a former Indian track and field sprinter who was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Army. He was the only Indian athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at a Commonwealth Games until Krishna Poonia won the discus gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
He used to walk a distance of 10 km barefoot everyday from his home to a village school in Pakistan.
During the communal riots that followed the Indo-Pak partition, Milkha lost his parents at a tender age of 12. It was then he ran for his life and came to India.
He wanted to join the Indian Army, but was rejected thrice. He never gave up and got selected in his fourth attempt, when he had enrolled himself in the engineering department.
In 1951, when he joined in Secundrabad at the EME Centre. It was here that his talent as an athlete was discovered.
During the 1958 Asian Games, he won a gold medal for both 200m and 400m race with a clocking time of 21.6 sec and 47 sec respectively.
At the 1958 Cardiff Commonwealth Games, he won a gold medal in 400m with a clocking time of 46.16 sec. It was here that Milkha became the first to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games from Independent India.
Unfortunately, Milkha lost the bronze in the final 1960 Olympic race by just 0.1 sec.
In 1962, Milkha Singh defeated Abdul Khaliq, the fastest Pakistani runner and it was then that he was sobriquet the title of “The Flying Sikh” by Pakistani General, Ayub Kahn.
He sold his biography to Mehra,the Producer and Director of ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, only for Re. 1.
In 2001, Milkha Singh declined the prestigious “Arjuna Award”, saying it came ‘40 years too late’.