Indian film evokes memories of Pakistan’s ‘Flying Bird’

India’s Milkha Singh (16) took the 200 metres in 21.6 seconds to tie the Asian Games record in Tokyo in 1958. The silver medal went to Abdul Khaliq (117-left), the fleeting Pakistani, in 21.7 seconds.   | Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

India has immortalised its legend Milkha Singh by making a movie on his life, but in the Jand Awan village of Pakistan, family members of Abdul Khaliq, the ‘Flying Bird of Asia,’ ask: “Did Khaliq run in vain?” reported that Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, besides paying tribute to the legendry Indian athlete, also brought Khaliq into the limelight.

President Ayub Khan had organised an India-Pakistan meet in 1960 in Lahore where Milkha Singh defeated Khaliq who had beaten the Indian more than once in international races.

Khaliq, who died on March 10, 1988 in Rawalpindi, was the only Pakistani athlete to raise the country’s flag high in the Melbourne Olympics (1956) and the Rome Olympics (1960). He won 100 gold medals in national meets, 26 gold medals and 23 silver medals in the international arena.

Khaliq’s tremendous run in the 1954 Manila Asian Games set a meet new record of 10.6 seconds. The chief guest, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, called him the “Flying Bird of Asia”.

However, very few outside Jand Awan know that in the village graveyard rests the man who was once known as the “Fastest Man of Asia.”

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 5:48:44 AM |

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