India celebrates National Sports Day on 29 August every year. The day is dedicated to the Indian hockey great, Major Dhyan Chand, who was born on this day in 1905.

Major Dhyan Chand, known as the ‘Magician of Hockey’, had led Indian side to golden glory in Olympics three times.

 

Every year on 29 August, the President of India gives out all sports-related awards (Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna) to honour athletes and coaches who have made the nation proud.

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Born in a Rajput family in Allahabad, Dhyan Chand the Indian Army at the age of 16. His real name was Dhyan Singh but his friends started calling him Dhyan ‘Chand’ (moon) as he used to practise in the moonlight.

 

Dhyan Chand took up hockey after joining the Army. He had led the Indian hockey team throughout his national career and had guided them to three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936.

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Dhyan Chand represented India for 22 years and scored 400 goals for the nation. In the final of 1936 Berlin Olympics, Dhyan Chand scored three goals and India registered a thumping win against Germany 8-1. The hockey final in Berlin is regarded as one of the finest performance by Indian side in the Olympics. After that match, people started regarding the Indian side as ‘a virtually invincible team’.

 

After taking retirement, Dhyan Chand was named the Hockey coach chief at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala for a while. Later, he also taught at many coaching camps in Rajasthan.