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India at the Commonwealth Games: Milkha Singh giving India a 60 year old record

India at the Commonwealth Games: Milkha Singh giving India a 60 year old record

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Published: 19 March 2018 8:03 AM GMT
Jeev Milkha Singh, or as he is fondly known as "The Flying Sikh Man", gave to India her first ever gold medal at the Commonwealth Games back in 1958. Only a decade ago, being in the heart of one of the most brutal and bloody events in history, Milkha was struggling to come out alive from Pakistan, unlike his parents and siblings who were engulfed in the violence of the Partition. Milkha came into contact with racing only after he joined the army in 1951 and within 5 years of that, he was competing at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Two years later, he would go on to represent India at the Commonwealth Games, and come home with the highest honour at the event. Milkha Singh clocked a historic 46.6 seconds in the 400m which was known as the 440 yards event at the time. This was the first ever gold medal that India won in a track and field event at the Commonwealth Games. No one, in the next 56 years would go on to bring home gold in this category again. In fact, a second gold in the larger Athletics category itself took fifty two years to be matched when in 2010, India finally picked up a second gold in discus throw. With the wounds of partition fresh in his mind, Milkha Singh was encouraged to take part in the Asian Games the same year where defeated the much celebrated Pakistani sprinter Abdul Khaliq. Milkha's prowess and agility was not lost on anyone of the time. Being from Pakistan, who was so disillusioned with life, Milkha's life in Pakistan had almost turned him into a dacoit. But this change of fortune not only gave him a place in the hearts of all India but also in Pakistan. The nickname of a Flying Sikhman was bestowed upon him by the President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan. It is funny how he sprinted away from the haunting memories of Pakistan, only to be immortalised by none other than Pakistan's President. Meanwhile, India still waits to get her second gold sixty years later. Also Read: From beating Milkha Singh to losing a leg: The downfall of an Olympian
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