Sportspersons pay tribute to Milkha Singh

Several former international sportspersons and sports administrators paid tributes to the Milkha Singh, who passed away in Chandigarh last week.

Milkha Singh was bid a tearful adieu in the presence of his family members and several dignitaries.   -  AP

Several former international sportspersons and sports administrators paid tributes to the Milkha Singh, who passed away in Chandigarh last week, through a virtual meeting, organised by Kerala Sportspersons Association (KESPA).

W. I. Davaram, President of Tamil Nadu Athletic Association, said Milkha deserved a Bharat Ratna for his pioneering achievements. “It was a great honour to share the torch with Milkha at the India Gate lane during the Queen Bataon's run in the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in New Delhi. I have lots of great moments meeting his family members at his residence in Chandigarh,” said V. Baskaran, Indian hockey captain at the 1980 Moscow Olympics

Baskaran put forth a strong case of naming an university after Milkaha Singh. “Why not? Actually it is high time we do it,” he said.

The 2003 World championship bronze medallist long jumper, Anju Bobby George said Milkha was always ahead of his time as he reached the Olympic level when infrastructure in the country was nothing to speak of. “Milkha introduced a lot of good sports schemes in Sports College, Jalandhar when he was Director of Punjab Sports," said former Indian athletics head coach Bahadur Singh.

READ: Farhan Akhtar remembers Milkha Singh: 'Have learnt a lot from him'

Former India hockey goalkeeper Charles Cornelius, who was part of the bronze medal-winning men's team at the 1972 Munich Olympics, said it was through sheer hard work and dedication that Milkha rose at the Army.

Adille Sumariwalla, President of Athletic Federation of India said Milkha was an inspiration for everyone including him when he was growing up. “By winning the gold medal in the 1958 CWG, he put India in the world map. He was not just a hero but an absolute legend,” he said.

Lt.  Gen. Bobby Mathew, former Commandant, Officers Training Academy (Chennai), said Milkha, being a Honarary captain of Indian Army, embodied the value systems of the Army and chief among them was overcoming challenges. “He carried the mantle of greatness with grace and equanimity,'' he said.

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