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Major Dhyan Chand: 'The Wizard' Who Inspired National Sports Day

Updated: 29 August 2018 13:19 IST

Major Dhyan Chand captained India throughout his playing career and led the country to three Olympic medals - in 1928, 1932 and 1936.

Major Dhyan Chand: The Wizard Who Inspired National Sports Day
Major Dhyan Chand scored more than 400 goals in his career which spanned over 22 years. © PTI

To commemorate the birth anniversary of 'The Wizard', hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, the Government of India decided to celebrate August 29 as the country's National Sports Day. On this day every year, the President of India gives out all the sports-related awards like the Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to honour sportspersons and coaches who have made the nation proud in their respective sport.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who launched the 'Khelo India' initiative on this day last year, took to Twitter and greeted all the sports enthusiasts while paying tribute to the legendary hockey player on his 114th birth anniversary. 

"Greetings to all sports enthusiasts on National Sports Day. Tributes to the phenomenal hockey player, Major Dhyan Chand Ji on his birth anniversary. I urge people to give priority to sports and fitness related activities, which will contribute towards a healthier India," PM Modi tweeted.

Major Dhyan Chand was born on August 29, 1905, in a Rajput family in Allahabad. 

Dhyan Chand joined the Indian Army, just like his father Sameshwar Singh. It was in the Army where Dhyan Chand took up hockey.

His original name was Dhyan Singh, but as he used to practice at night only in moonlight, as there were no floodlights in India then, his teammates named him 'Chand', meaning the moon.

He captained India throughout his playing career and led the country to three Olympic medals - in 1928, 1932 and 1936. 

He scored more than 400 goals in his career which spanned over 22 years.

During the 1936 Berlin Olympic final, Dhyan Chand top-scored with three goals and the Indians won easily, defeating Germany 8-1. That match represented the pinnacle of India's hockey success; guided and inspired by Dhyan Chand, they made for a virtually invincible team.

Dhyan Chand contributed to the game even after his retirement. He was the chief coach at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala for a while and he also taught at many coaching camps in Rajasthan.

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Highlights
  • During the 1936 Berlin Olympic finals, Chand top-scored with three goals
  • Dhyan Chand is arguably the greatest sportsperson India has ever produced
  • Dhyan Chand contributed to the game even after his retirement
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