Milkha Singh, one of India’s first sport superstars and ace sprinter who overcame a childhood tragedy to become the country’s most celebrated athlete, died aged 91.
Hima Das recalled what the ‘Flying Sikh’ told her and how the sporting legend motivated her.
“I remember sir (Milkha) spoke to me during the World Championship in Finland and I am now missing whatever he told me. He always used to say that hard work is the key to success and during the World championship he told me that ‘Hima be serious from now, you have to give good timing in Asian Games’ being in discipline and listening to coach is important he used to tell me," Hima told ANI.
“And when I gave good timing in Asian Games he again called me and said ‘before I die I want to see one gold medal in Olympic and you have enough time because you have just started you can do it keep working hard and be dedicated’. At that time I was 18 years old so I am missing those things," she added. Hima said Milkha Singh had expectations from her and she will always remember the tips of the track legend. “He had expectations from me and had also called me at his residence but for some reason, I couldn’t go there. I really wanted to see sir," said Hima.
“I will always remember the tips of sir and will improve our sport. When I started my journey Milkha Singh was the first name which I came to know and how he used to run. I feel really lucky that sir always spoke to me and guided me," she added.
Heartbreaking to hear that flying Sikh legend Milkha Singh sir is no more. The nation will always remember you sir and seek an inspiration from your life forever. RIP #MilkhaSingh sir pic.twitter.com/wnASq5QUUf— Hima (mon jai) (@HimaDas8) June 18, 2021
Singh was the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 400m division in 1958. He narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal, finishing fourth at the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Games.
Singh represented India at the Olympics in 1956, 1960 and 1964.
Hima said Milkha Singh was an inspiration for India.
“Milkha Singh Sir was an inspiration for the entire nation, all his memories are coming in front of my eyes."