Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday announced a Milkha Singh Chair at the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Punjab Sports University in Patiala in memory of the legendary athlete who passed away on Friday night due to Covid complications at the age of 91.
The Chief Minister, who visited the ‘Flying Sikh’s’ residence in Chandigarh to pay his last respects, said the Punjab government will ensure that Milkha Singh’s memory continues to inspire the younger generations.
Amarinder Singh, who earlier announced a state funeral for Milkha Singh, besides announcing a state holiday as a mark of respect to the former Olympian, said the legacy of the great Indian sprinter would continue to live on in the hearts of the people.
Milkha Singh’s death is a mammoth loss to the entire nation and a sad moment for all, he added.
Recalling the declaration of a national holiday by then Prime Minister late Jawaharlal Nehru after Milkha Singh defeated champion Pakistan sprinter Abdul Khaliq in Lahore in 1960, the Chief Minister said 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 Partition.
It was after that victory that then Pakistan President General Ayub Khan had nicknamed Milkha Singh as ‘Flying Sikh’, said Amarinder Singh while interacting informally with the media outside the athlete’s house in Sector 8 here.