National Sports Day: Celebrating Birth Anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand
National Sports Day is celebrated to honour Major Dhyan Chand on his birth anniversary. He was an Indian Hockey player and considered to be one of the greatest players of all time. ‘Dhyan Chand Jayanti’ is celebrated in India on 29th August every year. He was born on 29th August 1905 in Allahabad.
Dhyan Chand is most remembered for his goal-scoring feats and three Olympic gold medals in field hockey. He is popularly known as “The Wizard” for his superb ball control. On National Sports Day, various sporting events such as walkathon and football tournaments are held across the country to honour Major Dhyaan Chand. The President of India gives prestigious awards to the sportspersons who contributed to the growth of sports throughout their sports career.
Dhyan Chand remains a constant source of inspiration for the hockey players all over India. He is also called a ‘magician’ on the Hockey field, as he had such an aura that even Adolf Hitler offered him money to play for Germany. He is known for his extraordinary goal-scoring skills and has won three Olympic gold medals during the time Indian hockey was the most dominant.
Early Life of Major Dhyan Chand
Major Dhyan Chand was born to a Rajput family in Allahabad on August 29, 1905. His original name was Dhyan Singh. His father is Sameshwar Singh and Mother is Sharadha Singh. His father was in the British Indian Army and played hockey in the army.
Dhyan Chand joined the Indian Army at the age of 16. It was in the Army where he took up hockey. He used to practice hockey at night only in moonlight, as there were no floodlights in India. Hence, his teammates named him ‘Chand’, meaning the moon. Between 1922 and 1926, Chand played many army hockey tournaments and regimental games.
His Career as a Hockey Player
- Dhyan Chand was selected for the Indian Army team which was to tour New Zealand in 1926. The team won 18 matches, drew 2 and lost only 1.
- Returning to India, Chand was immediately promoted to Lance Naik.
- In 1925, an Inter-Provincial Tournament was held to select India’s national field hockey team. Chand got permission from the Army to play for the United Provinces team.
- Dhyan Chand with his great performance in the inaugural nationals secured a place in the team for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
- He emerged as the hero of the 1928 Olympics by scoring 14 goals in five matches.
- Dhyan Chand was automatically selected to the Indian hockey team for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
- He was made the captain of the Indian hockey team in 1934 and he led the team to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
- He continued playing hockey till the late 1940s.
- He scored more than 400 goals in his career which spanned over 22 years.
- Chand retired from the army in 1956 aged 51, with the rank of Major.
- He taught at coaching camps at Mount Abu, Rajasthan.
- He accepted the position of Chief Hockey Coach at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, a post he held for several years.
Honours to Major Dhyan Chand
- The 20th National Award 2012, the Gem of India, awarded by the Union Minister of India, was given to Dhyan Chand.
- He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award, in 1956 for his contributions to the field of sports.
- India’s highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is the Dhyan Chand Award.
- The National Stadium, Delhi was renamed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002 in his honour.
- Government of India has issued a commemorative postage stamp and a First Day Cover in honour of Dhyan Chand.
- Chand’s autobiography “Goal!”, was published by Sport & Pastime, Madras in 1952.
National Sports Awards
National Sports Awards are given to recognize and reward excellence in sports. The awardees receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organized function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29.
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is the highest sporting honour of the Republic of India in Sports and Games. The award is named after Rajiv Gandhi, who was the former Prime Minister of India who served the office from 1984 to 1989.
- It is awarded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports annually.
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award Launched in 1991 to 1992, the cash award of Rs 7.5 lakh for honouring the outstanding sportsperson in a year for his/her achievement in sports.
- The first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award was Vishwanathan Anand in 1991-1992.
- Karnam Malleswari became the first woman to have conferred Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for weightlifting in the year 1994-1995.
- Pankaj Advani is the only player to receive this award for two different games- Snooker and Billiard.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy
- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy consists of rolling trophy and a cash award of Rs 10 lakh for 1st position; Rs 5 lakh for 2nd position and Rs 3 lakh to 3rd position to top overall performing university in the inter-university tournaments.
- It is the highest Inter-University National sports trophy
Dhyan Chand Award
Dhyan Chand Award is given for Lifetime Achievements in Sports and Games and was instituted in the year 2002. A cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and 3 awards are presented each year to honour those sportspersons who have contributed to sports by their performance throughout their career and continue to contribute to the promotion of sports even after their retirement from the active sporting career. It is awarded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports
- Arjuna Award was instituted in 1961 with a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, a bronze statue of Arjuna and a scroll.
- The sportsperson should have performed consistently well for the previous 3 years at the international level with excellence for that year for which the award is recommended. He must have shown qualities of leadership sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
- From 2001, the award are given in disciplines falling under following categories: (i) Olympic Games/Commonwealth Games/Asian Games, World Cup/World Championship disciplines and cricket; (ii) indigenous games; and (iii) sports for physically challenged.
- Arjuna Award was first presented in 1961 to six people.
- Meena Shah (Badminton) was the first woman to get Arjuna award in 1962.
- The first recipient of Arjuna Award was Krishna Das awarded in the field of Archery in 1961.
- Dronacharya Award Instituted in 1985, honours eminent coaches who successfully trained sportspersons and teams enabling them to achieve outstanding results in international competitions.
- They are awarded cash of Rs 5 lakh, a statuette of Guru Dronacharya, a scroll of honour and a ceremonial dress.
- Om Prakash Bhardwaj (Boxing), Bhalachandra Bhaskar Bhagwat (Wrestling), and O. M. Nambiar (Athletics) were the first recipients of the award honoured in 1985.
National Sports Policy
- broad basing of sports and achievement of excellence.
- upgradations and development of infrastructure.
- support to the national sports federations and other appropriate bodies.
- strengthening of scientific and coaching support to sports.
- incentives to sportspersons
- enhanced participation of women, scheduled tribes and rural youth
- involvement of the corporate sector in the promotion of the sport and promote sports-mindedness among the public at large.