14/12/2015 10:56 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

If I Were The Sports Minister, Would Have Asked Why India Isn't Winning In Athletics: Milkha Singh

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NOIDA , INDIA NOVEMBER 23: The Flying Sikh Milkha Singh, former Indian track and field sprinter was in town to inaugurate Genesis Champions Golf Centre in Noida, India. During the event Milkha Singh said “I am very happy that the doors have opened for sportspersons. But I think the first Bharat Ratna should have been given to Dhyan Chand because of what he has achieved.” (Photo by Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

INDORE -- Legendary athlete Milkha Singh today said the government should chart out a time-bound plan with the help of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and other sports bodies to produce athletes who excel internationally.

Singh, popularly known as the 'flying Sikh', also expressed concern over the country's failure to produce an athlete like him.

"If I would have been the Sports Minister, I would have called a meeting of IOA and asked that when the government was providing facilities and spending money why are the results not encouraging," Singh told reporters here.

"If the country wants an athlete like me, the government should sit with IOA and other sports bodies and chart out a time-bound plan for this. Athletics should be made compulsory sports in the schools across the country as well," he opined.

"There was no dearth of players in India," he said referring to well-known Indian athletes PT Usha and Anju Bobby George.

He said that if India was not winning laurels in athletics, the government should not be held responsible as it was providing all facilities and money for it.

"The onus to bring forth results rests is on IOA," he added.

Advocating Bharat Ratna for legendary hockey player, late Dhyan Chand, he said that he doesn't question why cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has been honoured with the country's highest civilian award.

"I say that Dhyan Chand should be given Bharat Ratna as he is the first personality to deserve it," Singh, who won an individual gold medal at the 1958 Commonwealth Games, said.

Disagreeing to the trend of returning government awards by different personalities amid talks over intolerance in the country, he wondered what sense such a trait makes.

"Government gives awards on merits. I am averse to this trend," he added.

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