A sports academy in Jarkhar village, around 10km from Ludhiana, has started work on a statue of legendary athlete Milkha Singh, expected to be completed by the end of the year. To be 28 feet tall, including the base, the tribute to the Flying Sikh will cost Rs 7.5 lakh and is an initiative of the Jarkhar Sports Academy, which was established six years ago with an aim to promote sports in rural areas of Punjab.
"Statues of achievers remind people of their heroic stature, encouraging the next generations to follow the same path. I always tell young players that their statues could also be among those of their heroes in coming years," said academy president Jagrup Singh Jarkhar.
After hockey stars and Olympians Prithipal Singh, Surjeet Singh and Udham Singh, Milkha's statue would be the next in a series of such features at the academy.
"Take any sport, and the achievements of the stars are talked about among budding sportspersons. It gives them a sense of direction," Harminder Singh, hockey coach at the Jarkhar Hockey Academy, said.