Milkha wants a committee to suggest Bharat Ratna

PTI| Updated: Dec 19, 2013, 21:31 PM IST

Lucknow: `Flying Sikh` Milkha Singh on Thursday called for setting up of a committee to suggest names of sportspersons to honour them with the Bharat Ratna.

"A committee should be set up to suggest names after assessing the sportspersons involved in different sports on the basis of their performances for honouring them with Bharat Ratna," Milkha, who was here to attend a programme, told reporters.

"Preference should be given to Olympic sports as they are played by more countries and so the competition is also more," he said.

Milkha said iconic cricketer Tendulkar, who was named for the Bharat Ratna on the day of his retirement last month, should be made the sports minister.

"Sachin Tendulkar should be made the sports minister of the country as he has massive experience and he can understand better than anyone else how to encourage sports in the country," he said.

Milkha re-iterated that hockey wizard Dhyanchand should have been honoured with Bharat Ratna before Tendulkar.

Earlier, addressing the the 21st foundation day of Seth M R Jaipuria school, Milkha rued at the lack of quality athletes despite the country having good facilities.

"I played at the time when even basic facilities were not available in the country. We didn`t know about the shoes and the track suits. Today, despite having so many facilities athletes of national level are not coming up," he said.

He said Indian athletes will have to take their sport seriously and work hard if they want to make a mark at the international level.

Regarding his future plans, the only Indian male athlete to have won an individual track and field gold in Commonwealth Games said, "I did, what I have to done. Now I am 85 years old."