Speaking at a press conference on the eve of 'Run with Flying Sikh Milkha - Save Girl Child' event, Milkha said that he was touched by Lewis' acknowledgement of his achievements.
     
"The great Carl Lewis watched my movie at his home in America along with an Indian friend of his. He does not know Hindi and his Indian friend must have done the translation. After watching the movie, he took my phone number from his Indian friend and called me up one day," Milkha said.
     
"He told me that he was amazed how a village boy who ran barefoot rose from the scratch to become a world record holder (in 400m race). He said in USA, athletes are given scientific training and taught about the importance of fitness, how many hours an athlete needs to do sand running and how to start from the blocks etc," said Milkha who finished fourth in 400m in 1960 Rome Olympics.
     
"A few days later I got a gift from Lewis, which to my amazement was a baton (used in relay races). On the baton was written 'a present from Carl Lewis, multiple Olympic gold medallist to legendary Milkha Singh. I salute your achievements'. I was touched as I thought I got the ultimate acknowledgement for my hard work from none other than one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports," he added.
     
Talking about his quest for excellence and hard work he had put in, Milkha said, "I remembered I used to run from the place where there is National Stadium now up to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. I used to faint reaching there, vomiting blood sometimes.”
     
"I used to train longer than my running partners who refused to run further, saying they don't want to die. My coach kept on nudging me to train more. Once I said I am dying and I cannot run further, he goaded me to continue. That was how I could become a world record breaker," he said.

(Agencies)

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