Bengaluru

Flashback with the Flying Sikh

Legend: Milkha Singh celebrating his birthday in Bangalore on Thursday, a day late. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Legend: Milkha Singh celebrating his birthday in Bangalore on Thursday, a day late. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K.

Legendary athlete Milkha Singh cut his 84th birthday cake here on Thursday — a day late — to best wishes from everyone present.

“My official date of birth, when I asked my father about it much later in life, was given as November 20, 1929. When I went to Pakistan, I had this verified. And now you can ascertain if I am 83 or 84,” he said and drew a few guffaws. The Bengaluru Marriott Whitefield Hotel promptly brought in a cake to make the occasion into a celebration.

Mr. Milkha was in Bangalore as brand ambassador for the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon being held on December 14.

The Flying Sikh remembered his young days and the hard work put in to reach great heights. “ Bhaag Milkha Bhaag showed just 10 per cent truth of my life. Life was tougher and the suffering greater…but all that did not deter me. It only made me a tougher person,” he said.

“I slept for days at the Delhi railway station and ate rotis once in three days. I was determined to enter the Army and even without knowing what cross country or 400-metre run actually was, aspired for an entry into the Army through sports. For someone who ran 10 miles from my village each day, running was not a worry...but I did it all with single-minded determination,” he said.

The former track and field sprinter diplomatically evaded questions about the Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar or the IOA-IOC fracas.

He did, however, advice youngsters to take up running to keep themselves “fit and healthy”.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 12:26:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/flashback-with-the-flying-sikh/article5376623.ece

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