Considered to be one of the greatest hockey players in the history of the sport, Dhyan Chand was born on August 29, 1905. Known for his extraordinary goal-scoring feats, he won three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936 respectively. Known as The Wizard or The Magician of hockey for his superior ball control, the Government of India awarded Chand India's third highest civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956. Notably, his birthday on August 29, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India every year.
On the hockey player's 114th birth anniversary, here's looking at a few interesting facts about him. Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905 in Allahabad. He was born to mother Sharadha Singh and father Sameshwar Singh. His father was in the British Indian Army, and he played hockey in the army.
On his 17th birthday, he enlisted in the 1st Brahmans of the British Indian Army as a sepoy (private) which later became the 1/1st Punjab Regiment. Chand exclusively played army hockey tournaments and regimental games between 1922 and 1926.
On May 17, 1928 the Indian national hockey team made its Olympic debut against Austria, winning 6–0, with Chand scoring 3 goals. Dhyan Chand scored the most number of goals at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. He scored 14 goals.
Three years later, Authority selected a new Olympic team during the Inter-Provincial Tournament; the IHF wrote to the Army Sports Control Board to grant Singh leaves to participate in the nationals. His platoon refused. However, IHF selected Chand for the Olympic team without any formalities.
During the Los Angeles Olympics, Chand along with his brother Roop, scored 25 out of the 35 goals by India. During the Berlin Olympics, Chand once again was selected him without formalities. Chand top-scored with 3 goals, Dara scored 2 and Roop Singh, Tapsell and Jaffar one each to defeat Germany in the finals for 8-1.
He scored over 400 goals in his career, from 1926 to 1948 and retired from the army at the age of 51 in 1956. He held the rank of Major at the time of his retirement. Chand’s autobiography, Goal!, was published by Sport & Pastime, Madras in 1952.
The Government of India renamed The National Stadium, Delhi to Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002 in his honour.