India’s ‘Flying Sikh’, Milkha Singh Dies Aged 91 from Covid-Related Complications

One of India’s greatest athletes, Milkha Singh, has died from Covid-related complications, aged 91.

Popularly known as “the Flying Sikh”, Singh won four Asian gold medals and finished fourth in the 400m final at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

In 2013, his story was adapted for the Bollywood film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Run Milkha Run).

Singh’s wife, Nirmal Kaur, a former volleyball captain, also died with Covid earlier this week, aged 85.

Singh had contracted Covid-19 last month and died of complications from the disease in a hospital in the northern city of Chandigarh late on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a personal tribute alongside a photograph of the two on social media. Taking to Twitter on Friday, PM Modi said in a thread: “In the passing away of Shri Milkha Singh Ji, we have lost a colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation’s imagination and had a special place in the hearts of countless Indians. His inspiring personality endeared himself to millions. Anguished by his passing away.”

Singh’s passing comes as a deep loss to India and its sporting community, with Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, Saina Nehwal, Sunil Chhetri and undoubtedly more, paying their respect to ‘the Flying Sikh’.

Singh was a four-time Asian Games gold medallist, and remained independent India’s greatest track athlete. He won four gold medals at the Asian Games and was a 1958 Commonwealth Games champion.

Singh missed the 400m bronze at the 1960 Rome Olympics when the athletic world, not just India, had taken a medal as certain. That run in Rome remains the gold standard for Indians. No Indian has won a medal in the 14 editions since then.