The four times Asian Games gold winner Milkha Singh, also known as ‘The Flying Sikh’, criticised the use of banned substance by young athletes.
In an exclusive interaction with TOI, Singh questioned the use of banned substances by young athletes in India, "Doping is spreading like cancer. In my time there was no use of banned substance. Nowadays, dope abuse is spreading even at school competitions. I wish to ask, from where do these substances enter India? Who gives them to athletes?”
He suggests that the only way to curb the menace is to punish those that encourage and offer performance enhancing drugs. Singh believes that foreign coaches and doctors are at fault for this practice and calls for those that are offering banned substances to be punished.
The former Indian track and field sprinter, who has inspired millions in India said in the interview that he has just one last wish - to see an Indian athlete win an Olympic gold.
Milkha Singh, who is now in his eighties, said to TOI, “My dream is to see an Indian athlete win a gold medal in Olympics before I close my eyes.” He believes that the performance abroad is majorly judged by the performance of the athletics team. Though India has clinched medals in several other events in Olympics, the country is yet to produce a single medal in athletics.
The legendary runner spoke about his journey, what it took to achieve greatness, and said that hard work is the only way to succeed. Singh had to run barefoot and could barely attend school, was rejected from the Indian Army three times and even had to spend days at the railway station without food.
The former Indian sprinter, who missed out on the Olympic medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics finishing fourth, believes there has been vast improvement in infrastructure in the last 30 years. He, however, rued the commitment to help improve athletes and lamented the ‘vision, strategy and implementation’.
He credited his fortunes to hard work and how his coach’s drive to perform and train harder made him a better athlete, “My coach would ask me do one extra lap of 400m even if I was dead tired after countless laps of running. Only will power, character, discipline and hard work produce champions," said the Flying Sikh to Times of India.