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Picton silver track star heads to silver screen performance in India

India's "Flying Sikh' Milka Singh and track star David Mayer, of Picton

Fresh from a silver medal performance at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national track and field championships, Picton’s David Mayer will compete in India – not for a medal, but as an actor on the Silver Screen.

A movie about legendary athlete Milka Singh, who became known as ‘The Flying Sikh’, will include the filming of about 12 Ontario university athletes at the 2010 Commonwealth Stadium in New Delhi in April.

“The movie is called Bhag Milkha Bhag (Run Milkha Run),” says Mayer. “It is based on the story of Milkha Singh, an Indian sprinter of the late 50s and 60s who overcame tragedy and with no real training, went on to place fourth in the 400m Olympic Games in Rome. I will be playing one of his sprinter competitors.”

The story of Milkha Singh is inspirational. In 1947 he was literally running for his life to escape to independent India. His parents and other relatives had been massacred in front of his eyes in the bloody birth of two nations. He crossed the border at great peril, hanging onto the under-carriage of a Delhi-bound train that was bursting at the seams with refugees fleeing to India. Milkha was just 12-years-old with no one and nowhere to turn, but athletics was to be his salvation.

Mayer was recommended as a candidate for the all-expenses paid trip by his York University Lions coach, though his dad Gerry notes his son said he would have jumped at the opportunity for free.

“My coach, Colin Inglis, believed in me from the beginning and developed me into the sprinter and leader I am today,” said Mayer. “My past five years of success as a Lion is due in large part to my parents for their continued support, and my coach.”

The CIS competition last month was Mayer’s final as a York Lion, although if he gains entrance into Teacher’s College there next fall, he hopes to return to help coach the sprint group.

“This CIS national championship was the best not only for me, (as captain) but also for my team. I won a silver medal in the 4×200 with my team running the third fastest in school history and our 4×400 came fourth with the fifth fastest in school history. Our team finished fourth overall – just 1.5 points behind third and a mere 17 points behind first. This was our highest point total in team history which felt great being a part of that.”

“Best CIS meet that I have been at as a head coach at York University in my 13 years as we were in it to the end and nearly won a national championship,” his coach concurs. “I think when Dave looks back at his time at York in a few years, he will realize the progress he made as an athlete and how close he and his team mates came to reaching the ultimate goal of winning a CIS Championship. Truly this would not have happened without his hard work, dedication and leadership over his final four years at York.”

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  1. Manjit Singh says:

    Sardar Milkha Singh is another one of those athletes like 101 year old Fauja Singh, who are an inspiration for us all in the Sikh/Punjabi community. His son is also doing grear as a professional golfer. There are many women athletes in olympics that have also had their share of achievments. I can’t wait to see this movie. David, you would also become part of Sikh history by becoming associated with this movie. I hope they keep it real.

  2. Sherri says:

    GO DAVID your awesome in every way. Im so proud of you and keep being an inspiration to everyone that meet you.
    love you 3rd big sister

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