Olympian Carl Lewis was so awestruck by Milkha Singh’s rise from a scratch to a top athlete in the world by sheer dint of hard work and will power as depicted in his biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag that the legendary American sprinter sent a baton to the Indian as a gesture of respect.
“The great Carl Lewis watched my movie at his home in America along with an Indian friend of his. He does not know Hindi and his Indian friend must have done the translation. After watching the movie, he took my phone number from his Indian friend and called me up one day,” Milkha said.
“He told me that he was amazed how a village boy who ran barefoot rose from the scratch to become a world record holder (in 400m race). He said in USA, athletes are given scientific training and taught about the importance of fitness, how many hours an athlete needs to do sand running and how to start from the blocks etc,” said Milkha.
“A few days later I got a gift from Lewis, which to my amazement was a baton (used in relay races). On the baton was written ‘a present from Carl Lewis, multiple Olympic gold medallist to legendary Milkha Singh. I salute your achievements’. I was touched as I thought I got the ultimate acknowledgement for my hard work from none other than one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports,” he added.