National Sports Day - A Tribute to Major Dhyan Chand!
29th August is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. It commemorates the birth of the legendary Dhyan Chand, India's most acclaimed hockey player. On this day we celebrate a little piece of India’s History.
He joined the Army at a young age of 16 and took up Hockey. Dhyan Chand practiced late into the night leading his teammates to give him the nickname ‘Chand’, which means moon.
On 29th August 1905, The Magician of Hockey, Dhyan 'Chand' Singh was born in Allahabad. In his career spanning 23 years, he scored 570 goals and won the Gold at the Olympics in 1928, 1932 and 1936. His influence led Indian field hockey to win 7 out of 8 Olympics from 1928 to 1964. A news report famously touted him as The Magician of Hockey for scoring 14 goals in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
Indian Hockey's golden age led to the popular notion that Hockey is our National Sport. While this was later refuted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, there is no doubt that India has dominated World Hockey for decades.
Dhyan Chand's unmatched legacy, unrivalled playing style and the laurels earned by Indian Hockey in his playing years have not left an impact not only in Indian Hockey, but even on the international front. Residents in Vienna (Austria), set up a statue of him with four arms and four hockey sticks, depicting his mastery of the sport.
On his birth anniversary, we celebrate not only the legend he was, but also honour the spirit of sportsmanship and the game!
On August 6th 2021, Prime Minister Modi announced that the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be known as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
Some interesting facts about Major Dhyan Chand:
- He and his brother were known as the Hockey Twins; in the 1932 Summer Olympics, the brothers scored 35 goals between themselves
- In a controversial match when Dhyan Chand wasn't able to score a goal he told the referee that the goal post's measurements were incorrect and he was right!
- Rumor has it that Adolf Hitler was so impressed by the magician that he offered the latter German citizenship and a position in the German Military, which Dhyan Chand declined
- Dutch Hockey authorities once broke his hockey stick to check for magnet(s) inside!
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