National Sports Day is celebrated on August 29 every year as a respect to the hockey legend, Major Dhyan Chand. The Government of India has determined to commemorate his birthday as the National Sports Day after 2012.
Known as ‘Hockey Wizard’ and ‘The Magician’ for his exceptional skills and deep knowledge of the game, Dhyan Singh nourished Indian team to win gold medals sequentially in three Olympics – 1928, 1932 and 1936 Summer Olympics.
Dhyan Chand Singh
There are many fans in India for those who hit the ball, but there is more support for those who hit a big shot into the net. But before all these, there was another category that gave India a head start on the world sports map. For hockey players playing inside the post with a small ball and stick curved, no one has to think twice to name the best of them all. Dhyan Chand, acclaimed by the world as a ‘hockey wizard’. With the magnificent hands, he officially had 570 goals from 185 games in the records but the real figures are beyond that. The world saw Dhyan’s universe at the 1928 Olympics. He was the top scorer with 14 goals in 5 games and became the champion of India. Chand had scored 18 goals solely in the 32nd Olympics final.
Dhyan Chand, who started his military career as an ordinary soldier, was sent to the 1936 Berlin Olympics by India as the captain of the team. Adolf Hitler, the German Nazi leader had said that if he had been in Germany he would have made Chand a major and iconic personality. He also turned down Hitler’s invitation to Germany. He turned down an invitation to coach the Australian national team because he could not see his India being beaten by Australia. His love and commitment to the nation made him perceive this resolution.
His autobiography, published in 1952, was titled ‘Goal’. Chand was diagnosed with diabetes on December 3, 1979. He was eventually diagnosed with cancer too. It is a shame that the government did not want to give him the Khel Ratna for forgetting the game and continuing to play for India.
Born on August 29, 1905, he commenced his profession in Hockey with the regimental team of the British Indian Army. He is named as ‘Dhyan Chand’ because of his commitment towards the sport. He played hockey from 1926 to 1948 and during these years, Dhyan Chand represented India in 185 matches, scoring more than 400 goals. In 1956, the Indian government awarded him with Padma Bhushan, third-highest civilian award. Dhyan Chand offered farewell to the world on December 3, 1979.
National Sports Day 2020
Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju will pay tribute to Major Dhyan Chand at Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi on his birth anniversary. Many sporting events are arranged over the country to commemorate National Sports Day. In this year, the celebrations are demanded to be in a restrictive schedule of the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Apart from spreading awareness, on this day, outstanding sportspersons of the country are honoured with recognitions like Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Dronacharya Award. The President of India gives away these awards at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Prime Minister of Narendra Modi pointed out the remarkable achievements of the sportspersons through the official Twitter handle, “#NationalSportsDay is a day to celebrate the remarkable achievements of all those exemplary sportspersons who have represented India in various sports and made our nation proud. Their tenacity and determination are outstanding”.
Today, on #NationalSportsDay, we pay tributes to Major Dhyan Chand, whose magic with the hockey stick can never be forgotten.
This is also a day to laud the outstanding support given by the families, coaches and support staff towards the success of our talented athletes.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 29, 2020
On #NationalSportsDay, I salute all our sportsperson who has been making India proud through their passion & hard-work. Modi govt is committed and playing an instrumental role in promoting sports and nurturing the young talent through initiatives like Khelo India & Fit India. pic.twitter.com/AwRHmoTMFI
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) August 29, 2020
India’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, tweeted paying tribute to the ‘The Wizard of Indian Hockey’ Major Dhyan Chand on his Birth Anniversary. He also paid floral tribute to Major Dhyan Chand on his birth anniversary at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Today is #NationalSportsDay and I pay my tribute to the ‘The Wizard of Indian Hockey’ Major Dhyan Chand on his Birth Anniversary. The great sportsman displayed unparalleled dedication and skills in Hockey to bring accolades and honour to India 🇮🇳 #MajorDhyanChand pic.twitter.com/ByCzcUgS4Y
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) August 29, 2020
“Playing sports is not just fun but also keeps us mentally & physically fit. Let’s motivate ourselves and our dear ones to play for some time every day & we can help India become healthier & fitter”, tweeted Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar
Playing sports is not just fun but also keeps us mentally & physically fit.
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 29, 2020
“Tributes to the Bharat Ratna, Major Dhyanchand on his birth anniversary. It’s high time the legend who is a Bharat Ratna receives the Bharat Ratna,” tweeted former India opener Virender Sehwag.
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 29, 2020
— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) August 29, 2020