Talking about hockey in India is impossible without the mention of sports legend Dhyan Chand. The late hockey player was born on August 29, 1905. With his extraordinary goal-scoring feats, the sportsperson earned his name and fame in the field of Indian hockey.
He earned three Olympic gold medals, in 1928, 1932 and 1936. For his contribution towards Indian hockey, Dhyan Chand was also known as The Wizard or The Magician of hockey.
He has been conferred with several honours, including India’s third highest civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956. In addition to this, the Government of India also celebrates his birthday on August 29 as the National Sports Day.
On his 115th birth anniversary this year, here are a few little-known facts about the hockey player:
• Born in Allahabad, Major Dhyan Chand was the elder brother of another hockey player Roop Singh. His family played hockey for the British Indian Army.
• He graduated from Victoria College in Gwalior in the year 1932.
• During his childhood days, Dhyan Chand loved wrestling. He had no particular interest in the sport as such.
• Dhyan Singh got the name ‘Chand’ after his fellow players noticed him practising generally during the night after his duty hours.
• The player was the leading goal-scorer at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. He scored 14 goals, correctly earning the name of ‘the magician of hockey’.
• For Dhyan Chand, his favourite hockey match memory was from the 1933 Beighton Cup final between Calcutta Customs and Jhansi Heroes.
• Several reports mention that Dhyan Chand was offered German citizenship by then German dictator Adolf Hitler. However, he declined the offer.
• In his sports career spanning over 22 years, Dhyan Chand has scored over 400 goals between 1926 and 1948.