Nirmal Milkha Singh, former India volleyball captain, dies of Covid-19 aged 85

Milkha Singh's wife Nirmal, former captain of India women's volleyball team, passed away due to Covid-19 on Sunday. The legendary athlete was not able to attend his wife's funeral as has been hospitalised after contracting the virus last month.

UPDATED: June 13, 2021 23:39 IST

Milkha Singh‘s wife and former India women’s volleyball captain, Nirmal Milkha Singh, passed away in Chandigarh on Sunday due to Covid-19. She was 85.

Nirmal Milkha Singh had tested positive for Covid-19 last month and had been in the ICU at a private hospital in Chandigarh. The hospital authorities said earlier this week that Nirmal’s health had worsened. She was being treated with fluctuating oxygen levels. Notably, Milkha Singh was also admitted to the same facility last month but his condition has been improving.

Milkha Singh’s family said the legendary sprinter could not attend his wife’s funeral as he is under medical supervision. The family added that Nirmal passed away at 4 pm on Sunday.

“Former Director of Sports for Women in the Punjab Government and former Captain of the Indian Women’s National Volleyball Team, Nirmal Ji fought a valiant battle till the very end. A backbone of the Milkha Family, she was 85 years old. It is tragic that Milka Singh could not attend the cremation which was conducted this evening itself as he is still in the ICU himself,” a statement said.

“The family has expressed its grateful thanks to everyone for their solidarity and prayers right through the battle which gave them the strength to face it bravely.”

“I am deeply saddened to learn about the death of Nirmala Milkha Singh, which is extremely shocking and unfortunate,” Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi said.

Nirmal was born in Sheikhupura, Pakistan, on October 8, 1938. She was captain of the Punjab volleyball team on three separate occasions. In 1955, she also went on tour to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) as part of the Indian volleyball team, it is where she met Milkha Singh. Both were deputed as sports administrators in Chandigarh in 1960 and 1961. While Milkha joined the Punjab administration in Chandigarh as deputy director of sports, Nirmal was director of sports for women. Milkha married Nirmal back in 1962.

She is survived by her husband Milkha Singh, her son Jeev Milkha is an ace golfer and her daughter Mona is a doctor. The 55-year-old Mona passed out of Patiala Medical College before moving to the USA in the 90s. She has been working there for more than 20 years. At present, she is in Chandigarh.

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