Mr. Milkha Singh was born in 1931 in West Pakistan in the Rajput Rathore family. His parents, brother and sisters were killed in front of his eyes during the 1947 gadar.
The flame to achieve fame in sports was lit after Partition, which continued to burn at the EME Army Centre, Secunderabad to which he gives all credit for his success.
He came into the limelight during the National Games at Patiala in 1951. At the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games, he won the 200, 400 and 4×400 metres relay and created new record timings. He created a stir in the athletic world when he won the Gold Medal in 440 yards in a new record timing of 46.6 seconds at the Cardiff Commonwealth Games – a performance which has not been touched by an Indian athlete for the last 60 years.
The title of ‘Flying Sikh’ was given to him during the International Athletics Meet at Lahore in 1960, when he breasted the tape in 20.7 seconds in 200 metres. The biggest moment of his life came in the historic 400 metres race in the1960 Rome Olympics when he clocked 45.6 seconds and broke the world record. In all, he ran 80 international races and won 77.
The President of India conferred the Padmashri on Mr. Milkha Singh in 1958. Interestingly, his son, Mr. Jeev Milkha Singh, was awarded the Padmashri in January, 2007 making them the first sports family where father and son have got this title.
Mr. Milkha Singh has donated his trophies and running shoes to the National Sports Museum to inspire young sportspersons. His earnest last desire is to see Indians winning Olympic Gold Medals,particularly in athletics.