New Delhi, June 19: Track legend PT Usha was "shocked" to learn the demise of legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh, who passed away on Friday at the age of 91.
One of the country's earliest sports heroes, Milkha died of COVID-19 related complications in a private hospital in Chandigarh late on Friday night, leaving the whole nation in shock and disbelief.
The ace Indian sprinter expressed deep condolences and said track legend Milkha's had made a "special place" in everyone's heart because of his dedication. Milkha Singh Dies Due to Post COVID-19 Complications, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Chhetri, Ritu Phogat, Virender Sehwag & Others Pay Tributes to 'Flying Sikh'.
"I am feeling very low after hearing the news. I remember that two-three years back I visited his house in Chandigarh. Many times I was with him to attend the programmes, he was an inspiration to all," Usha told ANI.
"And today when I came to know about him, it is like a shock for me. I am feeling so bad because we have lost our great Milkha Ji. Because of his speed dedication and personality, he made a special place in our heart and I express my deep condolences," she added.
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.
"Its irreparable loss. Running second time in 1960 without any facilities without all those things he made our country proud. We can't compare him with anybody, his death is a big loss to our nation, he was a great personality," said Usha.
The former Indian sprinter said Milkha showed that with dedication and willpower an athlete could win medals despite not having appropriate facilities.
"He showed our athletes that with dedication and willpower you can come to Olympics and win medals even if facilities are not there," said Usha.
"Without any facilities, he achieved this height, he already showed our young generation that hard work and dedication can bring you medals," she added.
Taking to Twitter, Usha wrote, "Dark clouds of sadness prevail with the demise of my idol and inspiration Milkha Singhji. His story of sheer determination and hard work inspired millions and will continue to do so. As a tribute to him, students of Usha School paid homage to the legend. Rest in Peace."
Dark clouds of sadness prevail with the demise of my idol and inspiration Milkha Singhji. His story of sheer determination and hard work inspired millions and will continue to do so. As a tribute to him, students of Usha School paid homage to the legend.
Rest in Peace 🙏 pic.twitter.com/mLBQQ2ge3v
— P.T. USHA (@PTUshaOfficial) June 19, 2021
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.
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