Legendary athlete Milkha Singh welcomed India's return into the Olympic fold after the International Olympic Council (IOC) lifted a 14-month ban over the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) recently. The Flying Sikh felt that the timing of the ban being revoked meant that he could to see the Indian flag being unfurled at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Milkha Singh poses with his son Jeev Milkha
"I felt very sad that the athletes were unable to represent the country at various international events during the ban. It was crucial that India got its Olympic status back at the right time. It's the perfect gift for the athletes with the Commonwealth and Asian Games coming up this year.
Now the athletes can heave a sigh of relief and can represent the country with pride," said the 79-year-old on the sidelines of the third Louis Philippe Cup golf tournament held at Bombay Presidency Golf Club, Chembur on Saturday.
Singh however said that it wouldn't be easy for athletes to win a medal at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. "The conditions aren't going to be easy for the Indian athletes and they need to train hard. But they still have some time to get accustomed to the conditions. I hope that they do well," he said.
Members of the victorious Navratna Ahmedabad Team pose with their trophy at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club, Chembur on Saturday
On Saturday, the legendary athlete was in the city to cheer his son Jeev Milkha Singh who was a part of the Shubhkamna Delhi team that finished seventh. "Jeev could have skipped this tournament as he was ill. But he didn't let his illness come in the way of his professional commitments. It is not about winning but it is the spirit and I am proud of my son," he said.
Meanwhile, Navratna Ahmedabad emerged winners in the Rs 1.2 crore prize money 3rd Louis Philippe Cup. The Ahmedabad team sidelined strong contenders Puravankara Bangalore by a 2-1 margin in the strokeplay final played at the par-70.