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8.10.14

Known to be a terror during his heyday, Makhan had the unique distinction of beating the legendary Milkha Singh in 400m in the Calcutta nationals in 1962. 
Makhan Singh also won a gold medal in the 4x400m relay event and a silver medal in the quarter-mile race in the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games. In 1964, he was conferred the Arjuna Award, the country’s highest award for sporting excellence, for his achievements.
When asked about his training partner and competitor, Milkha Singh commented:
“If there is someone I feared on the track, it was Makhan. He was a superb athlete, who brought the best in me. I would rate him even higher than Pakistan’s Abdul Khaliq. We stayed and practised together for years. I don’t think we’ve seen any better competition in the 400m event in India after that.”

It was here that destiny took a bad turn in the life of Makhan Singh. Needing financial support for his family, Makhan Singh started driving a truck in Nagpur. Unfortunately, he met with an accident and lost a leg there, which ended his athletics career. He did not receive any financial aid from the government, and his family suffered in penury.

Two of his sons, Inderpal Singh (14) and Gurwinder Singh (22), passed away due to illness and lack of proper medical support. His third son works as a sewadar in Hoshiarpur BDPO’s office and earns a meagre salary to make ends meet.

To beat poverty, in 1995 Makhan Singh even opened a stationery shop in Chabewal, 3 kilometres away from his village, but could not sustain it as cycling on one leg, which he did for four years, proved too taxing in the end. To help Makhan get over the financial and emotional crisis, Milkha supported him in getting a kerosene oil depot. But he couldn’t earn enough to lead a respectable life and died in 2002 of a cardiac arrest at Chabbewal.

 It is a snapshot of everything that is wrong with our sporting system. It paints a dark picture of sporting heroes in our country, and possibly shows the reasons why Indian parents don’t encourage their wards to take up sports as a career.


Surely, the majority of Indians wouldn't have heard about this gem of an athlete from India. 
Makhan Singh, an Arjuna award recipient, was an Indian sprinter during the era when Milkha Singh was at the very peak of his career. But Makhan Singh was never deterred by Milkha Singh's awesome run and in 1962 National Games of Calcutta, achieved the unbelievable feat of beating The flying Sikh, Milkha Singh in 400m race. Digest this!

Milkha Singh's words about him: "Makhan Singh was the only athlete in the world I was scared off."
Makhan Singh beating Milkha Singh

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