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Milkha Singh is a former track and field sprinter who was the first Indian male athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at a Commonwealth Games. Fondly nicknamed ‘The Flying Sikh’, a title given to him by the former President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan, he is highly respected for his sporting achievements. Singh’s career in track sports started whilst in the Indian Army.
Singh’s story is one of hope and inspiration, as a teenager he witnessed the massacre of nearly all his family, including his parents. Orphaned, he left the Punjab and escaped to Delhi in 1947 to live with a married sister. Singh worked his way up in life, joining the army and seeking solace in his running. Winning Gold Medals in the 200m and 400m at the Asian Games in 1958 and the 440 yards event at the Commonwealth Games.
Milkha Singh also represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
He was given the Padma Shri in 1959 for his achievements in the field of sports.
Milkha Singh became the Director of Sports in the Punjab Ministry of Education, a post from which he retired in 1998.
In 2003, Singh set up the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust with the aim of helping needy sportsmen and women.