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India mourns as ´Flying Sikh´ Milkha Singh dies of Covid aged 91

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India mourns as ´Flying Sikh´ Milkha Singh dies of Covid aged 91

NEW DELHI: Milkha Singh, one in all India´s most profitable observe athletes who overcame childhood tragedy to hunt Olympic glory, has died aged 91 after a protracted battle with Covid-19, Indian media stated Friday.

Tributes to the athlete referred to as the “Flying Sikh” poured in on social media after the information broke late Friday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he was “anguished” by the information.

“(W)e have lost a colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation´s imagination and had a special place in the hearts of countless Indians. His inspiring personality endeared himself to millions,” Modi wrote.

“Dad just passed away,” Singh´s son Jeev Milkha Singh, himself a number one professional golfer, informed the Indian Specific newspaper.

Singh had first examined constructive for the virus on Could 20, the Specific reported. His spouse Nirmal Kaur additionally died of the virus earlier this week, the newspaper stated.

Singh was born in 1929 in Govindpura, in what’s now Pakistan.

He misplaced his household throughout the tumultuous partition of British-ruled India at independence in 1947, when it was divided into Pakistan and India, earlier than happening to grow to be one of many younger nation´s first athletic heroes.

Singh received gold medals on the 1958 and 1962 Asian Video games.

Nonetheless, he shot to fame on the 1960 Olympics in Rome when he completed fourth within the 400m after a photo-finish was required to determine the winner.

His time of 45.73 seconds was an Indian nationwide file which stood for nearly 40 years. However the devastated Singh by no means fulfilled his dream of successful an Olympic medal.

His rise to elite athlete made Singh a nationwide hero and impressed a Bollywood movie in 2013 known as “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” (Run, Milkha, Run).

The film title refers back to the poignant final phrases spoken to Singh by his father. As he was dying, he informed Singh to flee or he, too, can be killed within the post-partition riots sweeping the subcontinent.

Thousands and thousands are believed to have died within the bloody sectarian upheaval.

Singh ran for his life and boarded a prepare with different refugees.

“We all grew up with the folklore of Milkha, he´s a larger-than-life figure for us,” stated the movie´s director Rakeysh Mehra in 2013.

“He´s like what Pele meant to football, or what Jesse Owens meant for track and field for the West.”

Mehra was drawn to Singh´s story not only for his sporting achievements however for the influence the athlete had on a new child nation struggling to claim itself, describing him as one of many nation´s first heroes outdoors politics.

“This man never ran away from his fears, he ran along with them,” he stated on the time.

Tributes continued to circulate on Indian social media within the early hours of Saturday.

“Had the honour of meeting you and you blessed me so many times… the kindest and warmest RIP Milkha Singh sir… the world will miss a legend like you,” tweeted India tennis star Sania Mirza.

“A hero, an inspiration, a legend. His legacy will live on for generations to come. Rest in Peace, Milkha Singh sir,” tweeted cricketer Jasprit Bumrah.

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