Major Dhyan Chand was an iconic Indian hockey player who is remembered as a magician of Indian hockey. Major Dhyan Chand is a name that every Indian can say with pride. He was the prime member of the Indian hockey team which brought three Olympic gold medals in field hockey. He had great control over dribbling the ball that no one could ever match. He was honoured with Padma Bhushan by the government of India in 1956 for his outstanding contribution to Indian hockey. Major Dhyan Chand’s birthday, August 29, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. Major sports awards like Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dronacharya awards are presented on this occasion to the sportsperson who has shown tremendous commitment towards the game and made the country proud. Dhyan Chand has scored more than 400 goals during his international career which was ended in 1948.
Dhyan Chand was often called ‘The Wizard’ by the legends for his magical control over the ball. In Berlin, Adolf Hitler offered him to join the German forces after watching the final match against Germany. Dhyan Chand mesmerized the Japanese by playing with a walking stick when a woman in the stands asked him to play with it. In some places, opposition team players went on to the extent to break his stick to check whether there was any special thing inside the stick as the ball always tends to kiss his stick. Overall, he scored 1000 goals in a career spanning over two decades. During his era, there was nothing to record the brilliant play of this magician.
Introduction to Hockey
In his younger days, Dhyan was not much interested in sports although he liked wrestling a lot. He started playing Hockey with his friends who used to themselves make Hockey sticks from tree branches and balls from ragged clothes. At the age of 14 years, he visited a Hockey match with his father, where one team was down by 2 goals. He insisted his father play from the losing side, and when an Army Officer let him do so, Dhyan scored 4 goals for the team. Impressed by his skills, the Officer offered him to join the army and at the age of 16 years, Dhyan was inducted into the Punjab Regiment as a Sepoy in the year 1922. Subedar-Major Bhole Tiwari of Brahmin Regiment became Dhyan’s mentor inside the Army and taught him the basics of the game. Pankaj Gupta was the first Coach of Dhyan Singh who predicted that one day he would shine like the Moon, called Chand in Hindi. Hence, Dhyan Singh came to be known as Dhyan Chand after that.
Beginning of Legendary Days
There are many incidents that describe the grandeur of Dhyan Chand’s amazing skills as a wonderful Hockey player. In one of them, he scored 3 goals in the last 4 minutes of a match where his team was losing by 2 goals and got his team the victory in the match. This was the final match of the Punjab Infantry Tournament in Jhelum. After this match, Dhyan Chand was named the “Hockey Wizard”. Dhyan Chand delivered a brilliant performance in the first Inter-Provincial (National) Hockey tournament that was organized in the year 1925. Five teams, viz. United Provinces (UP), Punjab, Bengal, Rajputana and Central Provinces participated in the tournament. On the basis of his performance in the tournament, he was selected for the International Hockey team of India.