National Sports Day 2021: History, Significance and a Tribute to Major Dhyan Chand
Sports are important for the physical and mental well being of humans. Individuals who play sports remain healthy. India has produced many sporting legends like PT Usha, also known as Udanpari, Sachin Tendulkar, also known as Master Blaster, and Major Dhyan Chand, also known as 'Hockey Wizard'.
National Sports Day is celebrated on 29 August every year to commemorate the birthday of Indian hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand. This article sheds light on Indian hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand, history and significance of National Sports Day.
Major Dhyan Chand
Widely known as 'Wizard of Hockey', the greatest hockey player of India, Major Dhyan Chand Singh, was born on 29 August 1905 in present-day Praygraj, UP. After getting a basic education, Dhyan Chand joined the Indian army as a soldier in 1922.
Major Dhyan Chand was a true sportsperson and was motivated by Subedar Major Tiwari, who was himself a sports lover, to play Hockey. Dhyan Chand started playing hockey under his supervision.
Due to his outstanding performance in Hockey, Dhyan Chand was appointed as 'Lance Naik' in 1927 and was promoted to Nayak in 1932, and Subedar in 1936. The same year he Captained the Indian hockey team. He went on to become Lieutenant, Captain and was eventually promoted to Major.
Major Dhyan Chand's performance
Major Dhyan Chand was a great hockey player. If a ball stuck in his stick, it scored a goal. This was the reason that once his stick was broken during a match to check whether the stick has any magnet or something else inside it or not.
Major Dhyan Chand, was part of the three-time Olympic gold medalist Indian Hockey Team. At the Berlin Olympic Games of 1936, Dhyan Chand was elected the captain of the Indian Hockey team.
Major Dhyan Chand had scored more than 400 international goals in his career from 1926 to 1948 while scoring nearly 1,000 goals In his entire career.
In a bid to pay tribute to such a legendary player, the Government of India decided to celebrate his birthday as the National Sports Day in 2012.
Before this recognition, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan Award by the Government of India in 1956, the third-largest civilian honour in India.
National Sports Day Celebration
National Sports Day is celebrated extensively at the national level. It is organized every year in the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the President of India presents National Sports Awards to the outstanding players of the country. In 2020, the awards were presented virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the National Sports Award, players and former players are honoured with awards such as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, and Dronacharya Award. Along with all these honours, the "Dhyan Chand Award" is also given on this day.
After the death of Major Dhyan Chand in 1979, the Indian Postal Department paid tribute to him and issued stamps in his honour. As a tribute to him, the National Stadium of Delhi has been renamed Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Delhi.