Milkha Singh, byname the Flying Sikh, (born October 17, 1935, Lyallpur [now Faisalabad], Pakistan), Indian track-and-field athlete who became the first Indian male to reach the final of an Olympic athletics event when he placed fourth in the 400-metre race at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
Orphaned during the partition of India, Singh moved to India from Pakistan in 1947. He eked out a living by working in a roadside restaurant before joining the Indian army. It was in the army that Singh realized his abilities as a sprinter. After winning the national trials in the 200-metre and 400-metre sprints, he was eliminated during the preliminary heats for those events at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.
Singh was awarded the Padma Shri (one of India’s highest civilian honours) in 1959. After his retirement he served as the director of sports in Punjab. Singh’s autobiography, The Race of My Life (cowritten with his daughter Sonia Sanwalka), was published in 2013.