Indian national football team and Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu recalled a memory with athletics legend Milkha Singh, who passed away in Chandigarh on Friday at PGI hospital due to complications related to COVID-19.
Sandhu played a vital role in India’s recent final qualifiers for the AFC China 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar. He said, “When I woke up from the news of his tragic disappearance, my mind immediately returned to the unforgettable memory of receiving an award from the legend. The words he said to me at that time are still with me and continue to be a great source of inspiration.”
Recalling the day he received the award from Milkha Singh at a function in Chandigarh Gurpreet said, “It was in 2015 and I was one of the winners of Hindustan Times 30 Under 30 Awards. The ceremony took place in Chandigarh and it was Milkhaji who gave me the award. He told me, There is no substitute for hard work. Sometimes he bleeds after training, but you don’t have to stop!” he said in an All India Football Federation release.
“At the time, I was playing my club football with Stabek in Norway, where every day was a struggle to prove myself and get to the starting line. It was a big challenge and living abroad, there were days when it was difficult to maintain my spirits. However, I used to go back to these words spoken by the “Flying Sikh” himself, they were a great motivator and inspired me to give my all every day.”
Indian football team player Gurpreet added, “this is a small example from my life and I am sure there will be many athletes like me across the country whose lives have been touched by the great man. Milkha Ji’s words and blessings will always be with me whenever I fight for my country on the football field.”