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Former Indian sprinter Milkha Singh's last rites were performed on Saturday with full state honours in Chandigarh. Milkha, 91, was bid a tearful adieu in the presence of his family members and several dignitaries, including union sports minister Kiren Rijiju.

Singh died on Friday night due to Covid related complications. His son golfer Jeev Milkha Singh lit the funeral pyre.


Among the dignitaries who attended the last rites were Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator V P Singh Badnore, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, and Haryana's Sports Minister Sandeep Singh.

Prof Jagat Ram, Director of PGIMER where Milkha was admitted following Covid, was also present.

A police contingent reversed arms and sounded the last post in honour of the 'Flying Sikh', as he was fondly called. The sprinter was also given a gun salute.

Earlier in the day, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh had declared a one-day state mourning and a holiday as a mark of respect to the legend.

The Chief Minister said that the Punjab government will accord state funeral to Milkha Singh.

The funeral procession started from Milkha's Sector 8 residence. His body was carried in a bedecked vehicle, with common people turning up along the short route to the Sector 25 cremation ground to pay their last respects to the legend.

The Padma Shri awardee, Milkha is survived by Jeev and three daughters.

Milkha was a four-time Asian Games gold medallist and the 1958 Commonwealth Games champion but his greatest performance remained the fourth-place finish in the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Olympics.

His timing of 45.6 sec at the Italian capital remained the national record for 38 years before Paramjeet Singh broke it in 1998.

He also represented India in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics and was bestowed the Padma Shri in 1959.

(With inputs from PTI)

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