February 20, 2020
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Milkha Singh

The Flying Sikh on his refusal to accept the Arjuna award for "lifetime achievement"

Milkha Singh
Milkha Singh
Why have you rejected the award?
I've already got a Padmashree and an Arjuna award now is nothing but an insult. Were they sleeping all these 40-45 years?

Even after the promise of a higher award next year?
It doesn't matter. I don't think any sports lover will forgive me for accepting the award after such an insult.

You have also expressed your disappointment with this year's list of awardees.
Why not? There are so many who don't deserve to be in that list.

Any particular names?
I won't take any names. But how can you give an Arjuna award for somebody who hasn't even done well at the national level. The list is there for all of us to see.

Would you say these awards have become politicised?
What else? Unless you have a political recommendation, you can never dream of one. I refuse to associate my name with any such thing.

But you don't mind a "higher award" in the same category?
Yes. If at all you have to give me something for lifetime achievement, give me a higher award.

You have anything specific in mind?
That is for the people in the award committee to decide.

You are yet to be allotted land for your dream project of a sports academy.
Yes. But I have now lost all hope for it. If you think Milkha Singh has done anything for the country, then give me something. But still I shouldn't have needed to even ask them for anything.

If given a chance, would you be a part of the committee?
Definitely. At least then I won't allow medals to be given to non-deserving candidates.

Do Indian athletes take performance-enhancing drugs?
Definitely. Look at their records at home and abroad.

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