Top Ten Sikh-Olympic 2012 themed pictures

During the London2012 Olympic games, the team at GT1588 featured a daily post on our Facebook page that chronicled the London games and the many achievements of the athletes. Uniquely we featured Sikh athletes and Sikh themes, which has been a huge hit with our Facebook friends. We bring you ten of the best pictures here:

Security Chaos at London 2012 ? Should have bought in the Sikhs!

Remember when all the talk was of the security chaos that would surround the games when G4S imploded on the eve of the games itself. This was our take on the fiasco. Security Chaos at London 2012? They should have bought in the Sikhs! In 1878 the British government called in Sikh soldiers from India to help strengthen their hand in the strategically important island of Malta. This was the first time that Indian troops were used in Europe. This image depicts that historic event in a newspaper of the day. Sikhs were widely recognised for their service and bravery during this period.

Let the Games Begin

London2012 opening ceremony tonight. Good luck to all the Track and Field Athletes. We hope that this Sikh soldier winning a race in full battle kit during WW2 inspires you all. (Source: Imperial War Museum)

One Man against a Legion

After a stunning opening ceremony, the sport starts today with boxing at 13.30. Is this ‘one man taking on a legion’ or a Sikh training a group of young boxers?
(Source: Imperial War Museum)

We Did them Together

Swimming events and equestrian events today at London2012. 100 years ago we did them together ! Men of the 25th Cavalry (Frontier Force) swim with their horses 1915. From the book ‘Warrior Saints’ – available later this year. Image Source : National Army Museum

 The Flying Sikh

With the start of the track and field events today, Bikram Brar (@BSB2079) looks at the story of Milkha Singh, ‘The Flying Sikh’.
Truly one of the great Sikh athletes, his tale is awe-inspiring, not only for his feats on the field in the 200- and 400-metre races, but for overcoming the tragedy of his youth. Born on the 8th October 1935 in Faisalabad, Pakistan, the turbulence of Partition that followed saw him witness the massacre of his parents and relatives and flee across the border on a train bursting both with refugees and corpses, hiding under a seat in the ladies’ compartment. Living for a month on a Delhi railway station, followed by the Delhi streets, he had to scavenge for food for survival. Through bribes paid by his brother, Milkha Singh was finally able to join the army’s electrical mechanical division, after thrice being rejected, and through having access to their facilities, he was able to develop the training, discipline and hard work which would serve him so well in the future.
Milkha’s breakthrough came at the National Games at Patiala in 1956, managing to qualify for the Melbourne Olympics later that year. However, the games would see him exit in the earlier heats. Seeking out the 400-metre gold medallist, the American Charles Jenkins, he managed to acquire his training schedules despite the language barriers, following them rigorously, and resolved to beat his time. Two years later, at the National Games in Cuttack, he did so, and a significant period of success followed with gold at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in the 400-metres, and gold in both the 200- and 400-metres at the Asian games in Tokyo, 1958. After beating the Pakistani Abdul Khaliq in a 200-metre race in 1960, he was given the moniker ‘The Flying Sikh’ by the then Pakistani President, Ayub Khan, who said: “Milkha, you did not run, you flew!”
As such, he approached the 1960 Rome Olympics amongst the favourites and easily progressed through the heats. The final, a race that is now synonymous with the Sikh, saw the first four runners finish within a whisker of each other, all recording times which broke the previous Olympic record. Crucially, however, Milkha Singh was declared fourth in a photo finish, dashing his hopes of bringing a medal back to India. After running the initial stages of the race too quickly, he tried to slow down to pace himself, and left himself too much to do in the closing stages; an error which proved costly against athletes of such high-calibre. For a man who won 77 out of the 80 races he ran during his career, this was difficult to take. Despite his obvious disappointment, he managed later success, winning the 400-metres at the Asian games in Jakarta in 1962. After retiring from running, Milkha was appointed Director of Sports in Punjab where he continued to serve with distinction until his recent retirement.

Its all about the Horses

Its all about horses today. This engraving, which shows Maharaja Ranjit Singh on horseback with attendant and a suite of horsemen, was based on a painting by Alfred Dedreux, a French artist well known for his equestrian paintings. Ranjit Singh’s Italian officer, General Ventura commissioned the painting while he was on leave in France. It was gifted in 1838 to King Louis-Philippe and now hangs in the Louvre in Paris. There are some fantastic paintings and photographs showing the Sikh love of horses in the forthcoming new edition of Warrior Saints.

 Mounted Tug of War

Mounted Tug-of-War. One of a series of horse mounted sports carried out by Sikh cavalrymen during world war 2. We’ll shortly show the results of their attempt at mounted wrestling so watch this space !

…and of course mounted wrestling

Mounted Wrestling Sikh cavalry style from World War Two. One of a series of horse mounted sports carried out by Sikh cavalrymen. From the book “Warrior Saints”

If only competitive turban tying were an Olympic Sport

Competitive turban tying. Unfortunately its not an Olympic event otherwise we’d win gold. The picture shows recruits of the 47th Sikhs tying safas, 1903. Source: National Army Museum

Higher, Faster, Stronger & the shape of a khanda !

The Olympics is now over but we can’t resist one last olympic-themed image – who knew we had such a rich sporting heritage? Gymnastics display by members of 2nd Royal Battalion (Ludhiana Sikhs), 11th Sikh Regiment, Waziristan, 1936.

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