Athletics legend Milkha Singh said he was delighted by the union home ministry’s decision to recommend Bharat Ratna award to hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand.
The veteran athlete said given the contributions, Dhyan Chand should have been the first sportsperson to be nominated for India’s highest civilian award.
“I am happy with the news that home ministry has nominated late Maj Dhyan Chand for the Bharat Ratna,” the ‘Flying Sikh’ said here on Tuesday.
Milkha further added that Maj Dhyan Chand was one of the finest sportsmen produced by the country. “He brought several laurels to the country in hockey and was one of the finest sportsmen from the country. I have always maintained that he should have been the first sportsperson to receive the highest civilian honour,” Singh added.
Last year, nomination of legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for this award had caused an uproar with many believing that Maj Dhyan Chand, who was originally recommended, had been overlooked.
Milkha, who was one of the finest track-and-field athlete, congratulated the government for the decision.
“Sportsmen are the ambassadors for the country and I’m sure the entire nation will be happy to hear about this decision,” Milkha said, who became the first Indian male to reach the final of an Olympic athletics event. In the 1960 Rome Olympics Milkha finished fourth in the 400-m race.
Milkha went on to add that sportspersons dedicate their lives to nation and as such should be nominated for other high offices of the country. “There’s no reason why a top sportsmen should not be nominated as ambassadors, governors, as members of the Rajya Sabha or as members of Parliament,” Milkha said.