"I don't hanker after awards. Everybody knows Milkha deserves more than a Padma Shri, but it is for others, including the federation, to nominate me to the government for higher awards," Milkha said on the sidelines of a programme.
     
"I am happy with the Padma Shri. What difference does it make to me if I am now given a higher Padma Award? The people of India knows my achievements. I did not want to run around for a Padma Bhushan or Vibhushan," he said when asked about demands for Padma Awards by sportspersons.
     
A higher category of Padma Award can be conferred on a person only when a period of at least five years has elapsed since conferment of the earlier Padma award. However, in highly deserving cases, a relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.
     
Milkha was here to inaugurate Sports Injury Clinic at the BLK Super Speciality Hospital, touted to be the first integrated facility of this kind in the NCR (National Capital Region) by a private hospital.
     
The 'Flying Sikh', who is still the first Indian sportsperson to have won an individual gold medal in Commonwealth Games (in 400m in Cardiff in 1958), does not blame the government for not producing world class track and field athletes.
     
"The government does a lot, ranging from providing the infrastructure to financial support for training etc. In our time, we didn't get these facilities. Current athletes are getting all these.
     
"Yet, another Milkha Singh has not been produced in the country in nearly 60 years after me. I will say that the federation and the athletes were also to take some of the blame. Not all, but some athletes are lacking in commitment," he said.

(Agencies)

Latest News from Sports News Desk