Milkha Singh never looked back in anger at that one moment when he’d fatefully looked back.
Missing what could have been India’s greatest track and field medal — a bronze at the Rome Olympics in 1960 by 0.1 seconds — independent India’s first sporting superstar taught a nation entering its teens what a heartbreak felt like.
An Army man, who impressed a Pakistan General so much that he gave him the famous moniker “Flying Sikh”; a track legend who put India at the starting blocks of the biggest sporting stage; and a trailblazer who demanded excellence from all those who represented the country — Milkha Singh passed away from Covid-related complications late Friday at the age of 91.
Five days ago, Milkha’s wife, Nirmal Kaur, a former India volleyball captain, had lost her battle with the virus at the same Mohali hospital where the legendary runner breathed his last. Milkha is survived by 14-time international winner and golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh, daughters Mona Singh, Sonia Singh and Aleeza Grover — and a legacy that is part of India’s sporting lore.