Indian media reported on Friday that Milka Singh, one of India’s most famous athletes and athletics champion, nicknamed the ‘Flying Sikh’, has died of COVID-19 at the age of 91.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded on social networks: “We have lost a sports giant, who has captured the nation’s imagination and held a special place in the hearts of countless Indians.”
“My dad just passed away,” Jeff Milka Singh, the son of the deceased golfer known internationally, told Indian Express.
Milka Singh tested positive for coronavirus on May 20. His wife also died of the disease, according to this newspaper.
He was born in 1929 in Govindpura, which later became Pakistani territory, and lost his entire family during the partition of the country between India and Pakistan at the time of independence in 1947. He placed fourth in the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 at a distance of 400 m, with a time of 45.73 seconds, a number Standard in India has remained so for nearly forty years.
However, he never managed to win an Olympic medal.
But his exploits inspired his country’s cinema with a 2013 film: “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” (cycle, Milka, of course). A reference to his father’s last words urging him to flee or else he might be killed – like himself – in the resulting riots.