Chandigarh: Legendary athlete Milkha Singh today called Sachin Tendulkar`s nomination to the Rajya Sabha as a good gesture by the Government and said that sportspersons of great standing should also be made Governors and Ambassadors.
"It was a good gesture on Government`s part to have nominated Tendulkar, a sportsperson, to the Upper House, as earlier the practice had been to nominate politicians, artists, bureaucrats etc.
"They can go a step further and honour sportspersons of great standing by appointing them as Ambassadors and Governors of a State," the `Flying Sikh` told PTI here today.
He said apart from Tendulkar, there were a number of sportspersons including Viswanathan Anand, Kapil Dev, PT Usha, Bishan Singh Bedi and others who have made the nation proud.
"They can be made Ambassadors, the whole world knows these people. They can be the true ambassadors of India."
"Look at UK. They have made Sebastian Coe Chairman of the Olympic Games Committee. We too can take some steps to honour and acknowledge the feats of our sportspersons."
Milkha and his golfer-son Jeev Milkha Singh congratulated Tendulkar, who today took oath as Rajya Sabha member, and Viswanathan Anand for defeating Boris Gelfand in the World Championship match in Moscow a few days ago. "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 makers wanted him to travel for shooting to Pakistan, Australia and Rome.
"However, I told them that it will not be possible for me at this age to travel to all the countries, but I will definitely go to Pakistan," he said.
Singh said that it was in 1960s during an Indo-Pak meet at Lahore that former Pakistan President, General Ayub Khan, gave 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 and Gen Ayub had told me that Milkha Singh you don`t run, but you fly," he said.