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Sportspersons should be made governors, ambassadors: Milkha

PTI  Chandigarh , June 05, 2012
First Published: 00:16 IST(5/6/2012) | Last Updated: 00:18 IST(5/6/2012)

Legendary athlete Milkha Singh on Monday called Sachin Tendulkar's nomination to the Rajya Sabha as a good gesture by the government, adding that sportspersons of great standing should also be made governors and ambassadors.


"It was a good gesture on part of the government to have nominated Tendulkar to the Upper House, as earlier the practice was to nominate politicians, artists and bureaucrats.
"They can go a step further and honour sportspersons of great standing by appointing them as ambassadors and governors of various states," the Flying Sikh told PTI here.

He said that besides Tendulkar, there were a number of sportspersons, including Vishwanathan Anand, Kapil Dev, PT Usha, Bishan Singh Bedi and others, who had made the country proud.

"They can be made ambassadors; the whole world knows them, and they can be the true ambassadors of India. "Look at the UK. They have made Sebastian Coe chairman of the Olympic Games Committee. We, too, can take steps to acknowledge the feats of our sportspersons."

Milkha and his golfer son Jeev Milkha Singh congratulated Tendulkar, who on Thursday took oath as a Rajya Sabha member, and Vishwanathan Anand for defeating Boris Gelfand in the World Championship match in Moscow recently. "We are proud of Anand. He is a great inspiration for our youth. It will be great if he is made an ambassador or a governor," he said.

Asked about the progress of 'Bhag Milkha Bhag', the Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra-directed film based on the life of the athlete, Singh said the filmmakers wanted him to travel to Pakistan, Australia and Italy for shooting.

"However, I told them that it wouldn't be possible for me at this age to travel to all these places, but I would definitely go to Pakistan," he said.

Singh said it was in the 1960s during an Indo-Pakistan athletic meet in Lahore that former Pakistan President General Ayub Khan had given him the name 'Flying Sikh'.

"Gen Ayub was among the spectators who watched the event (200-m race). I had beaten Abdul Khaliq to win the event when Gen Ayub told me that I didn't run, but fly," he said. PTI

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