New Delhi [India], June 19 (ANI): Ace Indian sprinter Hima Das and Olympian Anju Bobby George on Saturday expressed their condolences on the demise of track legend Milkha Singh.
Milkha, 91, passed away at 11.30 pm on Friday night. He had tested positive for COVID-19 in May this year.
Hima said the nation will always look up to the legendary sprinter to seek inspiration.
"Heartbreaking to hear that flying Sikh legend Milkha Singh sir is no more. The nation will always remember you sir and seek an inspiration from your life forever. RIP #MilkhaSingh sir," Hima Das tweeted.
"A huge loss for the sport of athletics today. Rest well #MilkhaSingh ji," Anju Bobby George tweeted.
Athletics Federation of India (AFI) President Adille J Sumariwalla said Milkha's " towering legacy" will continue to inspire generations of young Indians.
"A Titan who lifted the profile of athletics in a young nation, his sharp observations on Indian sport will be missed. His towering legacy will continue to inspire generations of young Indians," AFI president said in a statement.
Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia said he learned from legendary Milkha that it's "willpower, not skill" that helps an athlete in achieving the feat.
"I learned from you that "it's willpower, not skill" and "it's never easy but you get better". we will be forever grateful to you for inspiring an entire nation and making is believe in the spirit sportsmanship. may you rest in peace. #MilkhaSingh sir om Shanti," Bajrang tweeted.
Milkha had a personal best of 20.7 seconds in 200m in Lahore on January 31, 1960. It set him up for a gallant show in the Rome Olympic Games where he clocked a National Record time of 45.6 seconds in the 400m final on September 6. He took part in his third Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 as a part of the 4x400m relay team.
Besides his 1960 Olympic Games heroics, Milkha Singh will be remembered for his victory in the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. He won gold in the 440-yard sprint in a Games Record time of 46.6 seconds.
According to AFI, earlier that year, in the Tokyo Asian Games, he won the 200-400m double. He picked up two gold medals in the 1962 Asian Games to end his career on a high.
Milkha Singh is survived by one son and three daughters. His wife and former Captain of the Indian Women National Volleyball team, Nirmal Milkha Singh succumbed to COVID-19 at the age of 85 on June 13. (ANI)