Peeved over India not producing world class athletes, the legendary athlete Milkha Singh, said, the government should chart out a time-bound plan with the help of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and other sports bodies, to produce athletes who excel internationally. Singh, popularly known as the ‘flying Sikh’, expressed concern over the country’s failure to produce an athlete like him.
In- fact he took a dig at the sports ministry, saying, “If I would have been the Sports Minister, I would have called a meeting of IOA and asked that when the government was providing facilities and spending money why the results are not encouraging.”
“If the country wants an athlete like me, the government should sit with IOA and other sports bodies and chart out a time-bound plan for this. Athletics should be made compulsory sports in the schools across the country as well,” he opined.
“There was no dearth of players in India,” he said referring to well-known Indian athletes PT Usha and Anju Bobby George. He said that, if India was not winning laurels in athletics, the government should not be held responsible, as it was providing all facilities and money for it. “The onus to bring forth results rests on IOA,” he added.
Advocating for Bharat Ratna for legendary hockey player, late Dhyan Chand, he said that, he doesn’t question why cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has been honoured with the country’s highest civilian award. “I say that Dhyan Chand should be given Bharat Ratna as he is the first personality to deserve it,” Singh, who won an individual gold medal at the 1958 Commonwealth Games, said.
Disagreeing with the trend of returning government awards by different personalities amid talks over intolerance in the country, he wondered what sense such a move makes. “Government gives awards on merits. I am averse to this trend,” he said.