New Delhi: A pleasantly surprised Milkha Singh and Mary Kom yesterday said that United States President Barack Obama mentioning them as one of the national icons was very satisfying.

Milkha Singh and Mary Kom
Milkha Singh and Mary Kom 

Addressing a Town hall event at Siri Fort auditorium here on the third and final day of his visit to India, Obama lauded Milkha and Mary Kom among others as achievers, while making a point that courage and humanitarian values unify both the nations.

"Those who live for the good of the country and those who bring laurels to the country always remain in the hearts of people. I'm very happy that he mentioned my name along with those of Mary Kom and Shah Rukh Khan. It's a pleasant surprise and I thank him for that," Milkha told PTI from his Chandigarh home.

"It's all the more heartening that it came from an inspiring person like him. His grandfather worked as a cook and he is from a humble background who rose to such a high position.

It's something I'll cherish," said octogenarian Milkha, who missed a 400m bronze medal by a whisker in 1960 Rome Olympics and was nicknamed the 'Flying Sikh' for his athletic prowess.

Celebrated Indian woman boxer MC Mary Kom on Tuesday said it felt proud to be acknowledged by Obama.

"I'm thankful to him for mentioning my name. He acknowledged my performances over the years. It was surprising because he could have taken anybody's name. I feel very proud," said the Manipuri mother of three Mary a five-time world champ, reigning Asiad champion and London Olympics bronze-winner.