'They perfrom well in India and whenever they go out they don't'
August 22: 2001: The Flying Sikh was in full fettle after rejecting the Arjuna Award.
MILKHA SINGH : Hello, I am Milkha Singh on this side
please ask me your questions.
punkaj : hello mr singhseem to be annoyed with the
dealing of sports ministry,tell me the exact reasonu have no right to criticise
the current lot of indian athletes
MILKHA SINGH : I am not
the only one who is criticising the present lot of athletes. The entire nation
is doing so because they have failed to repeat their domestic performance at the
international level and they know it well what they do here and what they do
there. Even the coaches know about it.
butterboy : hi, which is the major factor contributing
your success ?
MILKHA SINGH : Hard work,discipline
dedication and will power are the factors that have contributed to my success in
my sports. No athlete today is doing what I did. I was nearly on death bed many
a times and I vomitted blood because of my hard work and it went through my
urine also. The present day athletes lack dedication and that is why the
standard of the Indian athletes is going down every year.I have watched the
World Athletic Meet atEdmanton in Canada and I feel we are fifty years behind
chamii1 : sir...what makes u say that indian athletes take
MILKHA SINGH : I say that some and not all athletes
take drugs because they perfrom well in India and whenever they go out they
don't repeat the same performance because the drug test is there after running.
Ben Johnson took drugs and Carl Lewis reported against him and the medal was
taken away from him. It was humiliating to the country he represented. I would
appeal to the young athletes not to resort to drugs to improve their
performance. Even the coaches and officials should prevent them from doing so.
punkaj : but sir the facilites u and allof urs
contemporaries got from mr partap singh kairo are not given to these athletes so
could they can perform we can't treat them with our eyes shut and just go on
MILKHA SINGH : Pratap Singh Kairon gave me
facilities because I was world class. In my time the kind of facilities were
available were nowhere then the facilities available to the present day Indian
athletes. I started running with bare feet and there were no running shoes. No
track suits, no money. In my time if we got even some money we would be counted as professionals. But these days athletes make money. It is not just me but the
entire public which criticise the athletes because we are unable to perform at
the international level.
venkat : Hello Mr.Singh, Now that you have declined the
medal, how would you propose to change the system and what would make you accept
that medal? Also how would you propose to change the present so that India can
produce star atheletes
MILKHA SINGH : Thanks for the
compliments. I have already answered this question earlier on.
maran : mr.singh arjuna award is nations greatest and its
a pride of an iandian citizen to have it what made u reject it
SINGH : Please do not misunderstand me. I am not going to take
this award because this award is not fit for a life time achievment. I have
already written to Ms Bharti that after 40 years she thought of giving me this
award. I am honoured and grateful to them but this is not the time to give me
this award. It would have been alright if I had got this award forty years
Mad : I have respect for U for what you have achieved. But
please dont discourage ppl from getting reocognised for thier efforts by saying
that awrds are a joke. its the kind of inspiration for the rest of the young ppl
who dream making this country proud.
MILKHA SINGH : I am
not trying to discourage anyone. Awards should be given but only to the genuine
sports persons only. I was only talking about the correctness of the award given
to me for my lifetime achievement. After 40 years when I have already have a
Padma Shri you cannot give me Arjuna award now lifetime achievment. I am saying
that only deserving sportspersons should be given Arjuna awards keeping the
interests of the nation in my mind. This would also benefit the upcoming
pankaj : mlikhaji, would you say that overpaid cricketrs
are the reason we do not do well in other sports?
SINGH : I agree with you hundred per cent. Wherever I go I see
children playing cricket. This is a fever. Even the media is projecting cricket.
This is the basic reason for our standard falling in other games. We must make
it compulsory for all children to participate in athletics, gymnastics and
swimming. This gives you a clear idea about the talent of the child. Hundred
meter race and long jump must be made necessary for all children at the school
level and they should also participate in relay races.
gagan_marathon : sir, do u think india can ever produce a
olympic gold meddalist???
MILKHA SINGH : Yes. We have
produced four good athletes who have reached in the finals in Olympics in their
respective games. Gurbachan Singh Randhwa, 110 meters hurdles in 1964 Olympics
at Tokyo. Sriram Singh 800 meters at 1976 Olympic games at Montreal, P T Usha
400 meters hurdles women in 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games and myself in Rome
1960. When they could reach the finals why can't the others. I am sure that
there are lot many athletes like us who can do it but it would need hard work to
spot them and groom them and give them proper training at one place so that they
could get gold medal for the country in Olympics.
punkaj : sir by declining the arujan award do you thingk
you will be able to get tyhe justice that is denied to you earlier.
SINGH : I cannot say whether I would get justice or not. But what
I have done is in the national interest and the interests of the sportsmen or
sportwomen who have been doing proud to the nation by winning medals in the
international competitions particularly the
Olympic/Asian/Commonwealthgames/world cup. They alone should get this award.At
this age I do not need Arjuna award. If at all the government wanted to honour
me they should have thought of a suitable award as life time achievement. I
would request the ministry that they should not come under pressure from any
source and give awards to undeserving athletes. The ministry should not feel
upset about my suggestions. They should keep sportspersons who have excelled in
their games as special invitees on the committee so that they can ensure that
only those deserving get the award.
Rk : Are Indian atheletes more suited to a particular are
of track and field (perhaps due to their physical makeup)?
SINGH : The coaches alone can tell them what kind of game is
suited to them. Today we have facilities which can tell us which athlete can do
better in what field. This was not available in our times.
Ashish : DO you think that India can create world class
Atheletes in the future ;taking into account the present scenario
SINGH : I doubt that Indian can produce world class athletes from
the present lot. India needs a athletic academy. They have to give
responsibility to produce good athletes like in China. The coaches must be held
responsible for producing good athletes. They should be kept on contract basis
like other countries and remove those who do not deliver goods.
sandipan : sir,what do u think should be done to prevent
such wrong things whenpeople who are not at all eligible are given such
MILKHA SINGH : Award should be given by
guidlines and the associations should recommed the names. The awards should be
limited to just four to five in an year. Only those associations should have the
right to recommend awards whose sportspersons perform at the international
level. The IOA should look into this aspect. Becuase those who perform at the
international level feels humiliated to stand with those who have nothing to
their credit. I am not happy with those getting awards who are non-entities in
the world of sports. The IOA should screen the names before sending the list to
the ministry. They should ensure that only deserving people are recommended for
Arjuna Award and not any one and everyone gets it.
MILKHA SINGH : Thanks very much for joining my in this
discussions. I hope to see you soon.I hope that this would have the right
impact. My best wishes for those who are aspiring for keeping the national flag
flying at the international level.We should strive for our national prestige
then the monentary gains.