"Win an Olympic gold medal in athletics before I die": Milkha Singh
Milkha Singh came ever so close of winning India’s first athletics medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics when he finished fourth in the 400 m event. That heartbreaking moment is still haunting the legendary athlete and he wishes to see an Indian win a gold in athletics before his death.
"My last desire before I die is that I want an Indian male or female to win an Olympic gold medal for the country. I failed to win it in Rome Olympics in 1960. But I want to see an Indian athlete doing it,"Singh said.
The 79-year-old recalled how Indians have missed out on medals after reaching the finals in the past.
"The world knew if anyone could win a medal in 400m race in Rome Olympics, it was Milkha Singh, but it ended in disappointment. Since gaining Independence, very few Indians have reached the finals in an athletics event and all failed to win a medal. That includes me also. I could have done it in Rome but I lost the chance of creating history there,” Singh added.
Carl Lewis presented Singh with the Lifetime Achievement award at the Times of India Sports Awards ceremony. The Flying Sikh recalled how he felt when P T Usha missed out on a medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
"When Carl Lewis was running at the 1994 Olympics in Los Angeles, I was watching him as a spectator. At the same venue our PT Usha was also running but missed the medal unfortunately.”
Singh also cited how Usain Bolt lifted the spirits of Jamaica with his amazing achievements on the biggest stage.
"Athletic is number one sport in the world. If you win a medal, the world will remember your name. Take the example of Usain Bolt. Today, he has made Jamaica so proud with his achievements. I couldn't do it. The medal that slipped from my hand in Rome, the National Anthem that India couldn't listen in 1960, I want an Indian to do it before I die," Singh concluded.