Chandigarh: Legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh, popularly known as 'Flying Sikh, passed away in a local hospital in Chandigarh at 11.30 pm on Friday where he was being treated for Covid-related complications.
Earlier on June 13, the legendary Olympian had lost his wife Nirmal Kaur due to complications related to Covid-19 infection.
The former Indian women volleyball team captain Nirmal Kaur was 85.
"We are deeply saddened to inform you that Mrs Nirmal Milkha Singh passed away after a valiant battle against Covid at 4 p.m. today," a statement from the Milkha Singh family said.
"Widely known for her multiple achievements in the sports arena and her extensive philanthropic works, she will be fondly remembered for her accomplishments on and off the field," said PGIMER Director Jagat Ram.
Unknown Facts On Former Indian Women Volleyball Team Captain Nirmal Kaur
Nirmal was instrumental in getting the first hockey turf laid in Chandigarh in 1991. This was amongst the many tasks she performed in different capacities after quitting playing volleyball.
She had served as Director Sports, Chandigarh Sports Department. And in that capacity she was instrumental in getting the first hockey turf laid in Chandigarh. She retired from the post in 1993.
In September 1984, Nirmal joined the Chandigarh Sports Department as joint director and was promoted to the post of Director Sports in August 1988.
Before joining the Chandigarh administration, she was deputy director in the Punjab Sports Department.
"Since she knew sports thoroughly, she laid a solid foundation for a coaching programme in Chandigarh. In 1989, she appointed a first batch of more than 13 coaches in different disciplines including athletics," a coach of the Chandigarh Sports Department told IANS.
To further give a fillip to coaching in Chandigarh, she appointed the second batch of coaches in 1993.
"There are 23 posts of coaches in the Chandigarh Sports Department. After she retired in 1993, her successors didn't expand the coaching department despite having more coaching centres in the city," said a former basketball coach of Chandigarh sports department.
Sports Fraternity Mourn Loss
Remembering the iconic athlete, another track and field legend PT Usha said, "I met Milkha ji for the first time in 1982 and it was a memorable one. He advised me to focus on participating in international meets to improve my level."
During a telephonic interaction with PTI Usha said she met Milkha Singh during an international competition in Korea.
"You must compete in international meets abroad to improve," was the piece of advise received from Milkha Singh when she met him way back in 1982.
"Go and run outside the country, only then you can improve and compete with the foreigners, he would insists," she added.
The 'Payyoli Express' said it was her coach O M Nambiar, who introduced her to Milkha and she never missed an opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade from him.
"Ever since I got introduced to Milkha ji through my coach, I always used to ask him a lot of questions. And, he was always ready to answer them. He offered suggestions and spoke in an inspiring manner," she said.
Usha said Milkha Singh would remain in the hearts of millions of Indians.
Meanwhile, the Indian cricket team that took the field for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand is wearing black armbands in memory of sprint king Milkha Singh, who passed away on Friday.
"The Indian Cricket Team is wearing black armbands in remembrance of Milkha Singhji, who passed away due to COVID-19," said a statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
(With Inputs From Agencies)