Dhyan Chand Biography
Also known as India’s hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand Singh was born on August 29, 1905 at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. The title “Chand” (Moon) was given by his first coach, who predicted that he would one day shine like chand (Moon). His father was in the Army.
Dhyan Chand also followed in the footsteps of his father when he joined the army at the young age of 16. He was selected to represent India in the 1928 Summer Olympics. India won the hockey gold in this Olympics and Dhyan Chand scored two goals in the final match.
He led the Indian hockey team in the 1936 Summer Olympics final. Though he was refused permission by his regiment to participate in the 1936 Olympics, it finally relented. The German supreme leader Adolf Hitler had sought to use the 1936 Berlin Olympics to prove his theory of ‘Aryan Supremacy’. But the stupendous performances of American black athlete Jesse Owens and India’s Dhyan Chand blew holes in his theory. He was so impressed by India’s performance in the final, which India won 8-1, that he offered the post of Colonel if Dhyan Chand migrated to Germany, which Dhyan Chand declined.
He continued playing till the age of 42, and retired from competitive hockey in 1948. The city of Vienna, Austria honored him by setting up his statue. The other statues of this legendary sportsman are in New Delhi and at Medak in Andhra Pradesh. He is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan award, which was awarded to him in 1956. His birthday on August 29 is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. He passed away on December 3, 1979.