Major Dhyan Chand: All you need to know about the man behind ‘National Sports Day’


Major Dhyan Chand, often referred to as ‘The Wizard’ for his incredible hockey skills, was born on August 29, 1905, to a Rajput family in Allahabad. 

To commemorate his birth anniversary, in 2012, the Government of India decided to celebrate 29th August as the country’s ‘National Sports Day’.

On this day every year, the President of India gives out all the sports-related awards like the Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to honour sports persons and coaches who have made the nation proud with their service in their respective sport.

Dhyan Chand turned up to join the Army, just like his father Sameshwar Singh. It was in the Army where Dhyan Chand took up hockey.

His original name was Dhyan Singh, but as he used to practice at night only in moonlight, as there were no floodlights in India then, his friends and partners provided him with the name ‘Chand’, meaning the moon.

He captained India throughout his playing career and helped India win three Olympic medals – in 1928, 1932 and 1936. He scored more than 400 goals in his career which spanned over 22 years.

During the 1936 Berlin Olympic finals Chand top scored with three goals and the Indians won easily, defeating Germany 8-1. That match represented the pinnacle of India’s hockey success; guided and inspired by Chand, they made for a virtually invincible team.

Dhyan Chand contributed to the game even after his retirement; he was the Hockey Coach Chief at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala for a while, and he also taught at many coaching camps in Rajasthan.

Dhyan Chand is arguably the greatest sportsperson that India has ever produced. It is not surprising that the Government decided to celebrate his birthday as the National Sports Day of the country.

Sports Talent Search Portal was launched by M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday, August 28, a day before National Sports day. 

The portal will provide a three step simple process for registration, profile creation and upload of achievements.

The portal will enable any person from across India to upload his information and as per that the ministry will tap their talent and train them further in their respective disciplines.

The portal will also be available as an App which can be downloaded on smartphones.

“The country celebrates National Sports Day on the 29th of August. This is the birth anniversary of the great hockey player, hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand ji. His contribution to hockey was unparalleled. I am reminding you of this because I want the younger generation of our country to take part in sports,” PM Modi had said.

“Sports should become a part of our lives. If we are a young nation, our youth should get manifested in the field of sports as well. Sports means physical fitness, mental alertness and personality enhancement. What else does one need? Sports, in a way, is a recipe that brings people together.”

Khelo India is expected to be a program where upcoming sports talent in India will be given training, funding and a stipend. Kids, who are upto eight years or age, can upload their bio-data or video in the portal, and will be shortlisted by the Sports Ministry and called to the nearest Sports Authority of India centre for trials and selection.

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