Dhyan Chand 1980 stamp of India

Dhyan Chand 1980 stamp of India by India Post, Government of India – Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Facts about Dhyan Chand


 

Dhyan Chand was an Indian field hockey player. He is known as the greatest field hockey player of all time. His skill is compared to footballer Pelé who is a former Brazilian football player. Pelé is the most successful league goal scorer in the world, with 678 league goals.

Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905 in Allahabad. His father was in the British Indian Army, and he played hockey in the army. The family moved often because of army transfers. The family finally settled in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Here are the top 10 facts about Dhyan Chand.

1. Dhyan’s birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day in India every year

Dhyan Chand statue at Jhansi city, Uttar Pradesh by Work2win

Dhyan Chand statue at Jhansi city, Uttar Pradesh by Work2win – Wikimedia Commons

Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905. His birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day in India every year. 

Dhyan received the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India in 1956. Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award awarded by the Government of India after Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan but before Padma Shri. This award was also awarded on the Republic Day of India. 

2. Chand joined the Indian Army at the age of 16

Chand and his family moved often because of army transfers. The family finally settled in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Dhyan Chand joined the Indian Army at just the age of 16 and started playing Hockey while he was still enrolled. Since he used to practice a lot during the night, Dhyan was given the nickname “Chand” by his fellow teammates. ‘Chand’ means the Moon in Hindi.

3. Dhyan’s first international competition was with the Indian Army in New Zealand

Despite Dhyan Chand being involved in many memorable and high-on-action matches, he always said that if anybody would ask him about his best performance, he will unhesitatingly say that it was New Zealand.

After his first international competition, the army later gave Chand permission to compete for a place on the Indian Olympic team for Field Hockey. 

4. During the 1928 Olympics, Chand was the top scorer in the tournament

Dhyan Chand at Berlin Olympics

Dhyan Chand at Berlin Olympics – Wikimedia Commons

Dhyan Chand became the leading goal-scorer at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics as he scored 14 goals. A reporter, after India’s victory, said “This is not just a game of hockey, but magic. Dhyan Chand is, in fact, the magician of hockey.

Chand was selected for the 1932 Olympic team without a tryout. The team once again won the gold medal. In the final on 11 August, India played against the hosts USA. India won 24-1, a world record at the time.

Chand was again selected without tryout for the 1936 Olympic team. India defeated Germany 8-1 in the final for the gold medal. Chand scored 3 goals.

5. Dhyan Chand and his brother Roop Singh are termed as the ‘hockey twins’

Chand’s younger brother, Roop Singh, played on the Indian Field Hockey team in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. During the 1932 Summer Olympics, India defeated the USA by 24-1 and Japan by 11-1.

While Dhyan Chand scored 12 goals, his brother Roop Singh scored 13 times out of the 35 goals that India scored, which led to them being marked as the ‘hockey twins’.

6. The Dhyan Chand Award is an award in India for lifetime achievement in sports

T.P.P.Nair receiving the Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award

T.P.P.Nair receiving the Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award by rrnair – Wikimedia Commons

The Major Dhyan Chand Award is officially known as Major Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games. It is the lifetime achievement sporting honor of the Republic of India. The award is named after Dhyan Chand, who scored more than 1000 goals during a career that spanned over 20 years from 1926 to 1948.

It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Recipients are selected by a committee constituted by the Ministry and are honored for their contributions to sport both during their active sporting careers and after retirement. As of 2020, the award comprises a statuette, a certificate, a ceremonial dress, and a cash prize of ₹10 lakh (US$13,000)

7. Hitler was so impressed by Chand’s game that he offered him German citizenship

In 1936, team India won the gold medal at the Berlin Olympics but notably, 38 goals were scored by the Indians and only one was scored against them. India faced Nazi Germany in the final of the games where they defeated the Germans by 8-1 and secured the gold medal. 

Chand had scored six goals out of the eight for India. Adolf Hitler was in attendance at the finals and he was utterly impressed by Dhyan Chand’s display of play. So much so, that he offered Dhyan Chand a place in the German military. Major Dhyan Chand, with all his pride, told the dictator, ‘India is not for sale.

8. In his career, Chand scored more than 400 goals

Dhyan Chand

Dhyan Chand by Faizhaider – Wikimedia Commons

During his days in the army, he impressed the observers of the game. Moreover, he was also called for the trials when the newly-formed Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) decided to send a team for the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.

Successfully, he hit the ground in the Olympics and scored 14 goals in five matches to become the top scorer of the tournament. The Indian Hockey player scored 12 goals in only two games at the Los Angeles Games. At the end of the Berlin games, he scored a total of 11 goals in five matches.

9. The Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium was named in his honor

The National Stadium, Delhi was renamed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002 in Major Dhyan Chand’s honor.

The Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, commonly known by its former name National Stadium, is a field hockey stadium in New Delhi, India. It served as the venue for the 1st Asian Games in 1951.

10. Chand earned three Olympic gold medals in field hockey

A medal is a small metal object that is given as an award for doing something important or to commemorate something. There are medals for sports, military, academics, etc. Some medals have religious meanings. 

Chand earned three Olympic gold medals in field hockey. These were at 1928, 1932, and 1936 games.