The biopic on him may be running as fast at the box office as he would in his heydays but India's legendary athlete Milkha Singh is far from being pleased with the lack of success at the Olympics and urged that coaches be appointed on contract basis with set targets.
"We should look for coaches who can give us results, we must appoint them on contract basis and give them targets," said Milkha on Thursday.
The 'Flying Sikh' seems to be on a high ever since the film on him, 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' set the cash registers across the country ringing. But as discussions turn to the India's future in sports, the 77-year-old gets all serious.
"We need players who can win medals for India in Olympics. One Usain Bolt has made Jamaica famous worldwide. Why has there been no Milkha Singh since 1960. Why, in a country of billion, there has been no PT Usha. In Olympics athletics is the number one sport," Milkha said on the sidelines of a programme where Sports Mentor launched its national level school championship to unearth sporting talent.
Sports Mentor, an organisation providing scientific Sports Education programme for school children in India, has tied up with the Association of Schools for Indian School Certificate (ASICS) for a five-year period and the first edition of the Games would kick off in Bangalore on July 19 with the national finals to be held in eight locations in November.
Milkha said, "We should scout the talented students and open a sports academy for them, watch their progress, give them coaches."
He also confirmed that American track and field star Carl Lewis had called to congratulate him on the movie.
"He has called me and congratulated me on the movie. He is legendary athlete," he said.
At a time when the movie chronicling his journey to fame, is grabbing the attention of one and all, Milkha harked back to the days of struggle.
"After I came back from 1956 Melbourne Olympics, I asked my coach what was the world record then in 400m and he said 45.9. I pledged that I will not rest till I break the record.
There were buckets of sweat, vomiting blood, blood coming through urine and I came back from the death bed a lot of time. I was disciplined and determined to break the Olympic record," Milkha, who ran in over 80 countries, said.