‘The Flying Sikh’, as he was fondly called, died on Friday night due to COVID-19 related complications.
Legendary athlete Milkha Singh, who succumbed to COVID complications was cremated with full state honour on Saturday here.
Punjab Governor V.P. Singh Badnore attended the cremation alongwith Kiren Rijjiju, Union Minister of State for Sports and placed the Wreath, as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh were among those present to pay the last respect to Mr. Singh.
Mr. Milkha Singh’s body was earlier brought from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) to his residence from where it was taken to the crematorium in a bedecked vehicle. Contingent of 13th Battalion under the command of Commandant Jatinder Singh Khaira and DSP Sham Sunder, contingent of CRPF and Chandigarh Police under the command of Inspector Daya Ram fired two volley shots as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
Milkha Singh (91) is survived by a son and three daughters. His son Jeev Milkha Singh is also a renowned Golfer.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced a ‘Milkha Singh Chair’ at Sports University Patiala, in memory of the great athlete.
The Chief Minister, who had gone to the Flying Sikh’s Chandigarh residence to pay his last respects to the legendary sportsperson, said his government will ensure that Milkha Singh’s memory continues to inspire the younger generations.
The Chief Minister, who earlier announced state funeral for Padma Shri Milkha Singh, and a state holiday as a mark of respect to the Olympian, said the legacy of the great Indian sprinter would continue to live on in the hearts of the people. Milkha’s death was a mammoth loss to the entire nation and a sad moment for all, he added.
Also read: On the track with Milkha Singh
Recalling the declaration of a national holiday by then Prime Minister, Late Jawaharlal Nehru, when Milkha Singh defeated Pak champion Abdul Khaliq in Lahore in 1960, the Chief Minister said emotionally that he wished he could have also declared a national holiday today. But Punjab would mourn the legend with a state holiday, with flags flying at half mast, he added.
The 1960 win in Lahore was a momentous occasion for Milkha Singh, who had lost his family in Pakistan at the time of India’s partition. It was after the victory that then Pak President General Ayub Khan had nicknamed Milkha Singh as `Flying Sikh’, said Captain Amarinder, interacting informally with the media outside the athlete’s house.