Story behind India’s National Sports Day, 2017

When it comes to Indian sports, Major Dhyan Chand’s name is taken with respect. August 29 marks the birth anniversary of India’s hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand. In honour of  Legendary Hockey player, Major Dhyan Chand, August 29 is celebrated as National Sports Day.

The hockey player who won gold medals in Olympics for India in the years 1928,1932 and 1936. He scored over 400 goals in his career from 1926 to 1948.


Let’s look at few interesting facts about the legend:


1. He loved to wrestle as a youngster though he was not much inclined towards other sports.



2. He joined the Indian Army when he was just 16, often practicing late in the night after duty hours. He was given the nickname “Chand” by his fellow players, his practice sessions at night invariably coincided with the coming out of the moon. ‘Chand’ means moon in Hindi.



3. In the 1928, Amsterdam Olympics, The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) wanted to send India’s best team for the event. Major Dhyan Chand was the leading goal-scorer with 14 goals. A news report about India’s victory said This is not a game of hockey, but magic. Dhyan Chand is, in fact, the magician of hockey.” 



4. In the 1932 Summer Olympics, India beat USA 24-1 and Japan 11-1. Major Dhyan Chand scored 12 goals while his brother Roop Singh netted 13 out of the 35 goals India scored.



5. Once, when Dhyan Chand was unable to score in a match, he argued with the match referee about the measurement of the goal post. To everybody’s amazement, he was right; the goal post was found to be in contravention of the official minimum width prescribed under international rules.


6. After India’s first match at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, people watching other sporting events thronged to the hockey stadium. A German newspaper carried a banner headline: ‘The Olympic complex now has a magic show too.’ The whole city of Berlin had posters: “Visit the hockey stadium to watch the Indian magician Dhyan Chand in action.”



7. According to widespread reports, German dictator Adolf Hitler offered Dhyan Chand German citizenship and a position in the German Military, after an impressive showing at the Berlin Olympics. The offer was declined by the Indian magician and he politely replied to the dictator that “India is my nation an am happy there” 


8. Australian great Don Bradman met Dhyan Chand at Adelaide in 1935. After watching him play, Bradman remarked, “He scores goals like runs in cricket”.


9. Dhyan Chand has scored over 400 goals in his career spanning 22 years (1926-48).



10. Hockey authorities in the Netherlands once broke his hockey stick to check if there was a magnet inside.


Today, we salute the magician whose

Real talent lay above their shoulders


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