Gurbachan Singh Randhawa recalls Milkha Singh's heart-breaking moment from 1960 Rome Olympics
Milkha Singh was a legendary Indian athlete who was a top performer in track and field events. He barely missed a medal during the 1960 Rome Olympics, as his teammate Gurbachan Singh Randhawa recalls the heart-breaking moment.
Legendary former Indian athlete Milkha Singh has passed away at 91, as he breathed his last on Friday night, succumbing to the coronavirus and its complications. Consequently, the entire nation mourns the legend's demise as tributes and wishes continue to pour in.
Milkha represented and won gold medals at the top level, including Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. While he took part in three Olympics, he failed to win a medal on every occasion, while he came close during the 1960 Rome Olympics. Recalling his heart-breaking moment, Milkha's teammate and hurdler Gurbachan Singh Randhawa said that the entire nation was impatiently waiting for him to win the medal.
"I was very much there; the entire Indian contingent was there in anticipation of history being created. Everybody was expecting a medal from him. Everybody was waiting with bated breath. He was in top form; his timing was among the best in the world that time. Gold or silver was difficult for him, but everybody was sure that he would at least win a bronze. He was capable of that," he told PTI.
"The whole Indian contingent was stunned, speechless. Milkha Singh was distraught. We saw him ahead in the 200m to 250m mark, but thereafter, he made an error in judgement and slowed down a bit. That cost him a sure-shot bronze," he added.
Milkha rated the moment as one of the worst memories of his life. Besides, Randhawa also revealed that Milkha was a fitness freak that played a pivotal role in his success as a track athlete. "During the 1962 Asian Games and 1960 and 1964 Olympics, some of us would walk around here and there, but Milkha would not do that. He would train, have proper food and proper rest. He was very particular about his diet," he added.
Although Randhawa himself is a track legend who finished fifth during the 100m hurdles in the 1964 Olympics, he believes no one can be compared to Milkha. "There is no comparison with him. We took part together in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics and also in the 1962 Asian Games. I was so sad and emotional to hear the news of his death," he concluded.
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