An Insight into Major Dhyanchand’s Life

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After listening to the word hockey,  Major Dhyanchand’s name strikes every Indian. Did you know that he played a crucial role in winning gold medals for India in three consecutive Olympics? However, it was just the beginning of a great journey that made him the most successful hockey player in the history of the world. Apart from having outstanding hockey skills, he also retired on the post of Major from the Indian army. This blog is an insight into his journey from Allahabad city to conquering the world and the sport of hockey. 

National Sports Day 2020: Lesser known facts about Hockey legend Major Dhyan  Chand
Courtesy: Mumbai Mirror

Getting a Spot in the Indian Hockey Team

Born on 29 August 1905, in the city of Prayagraj, Dhyanchand was a legendary hockey player. His birthday is also celebrated as the National Sports Day in India in order to remember and celebrate his legacy. He joined the British Indian Army at the age of 16. He was seen playing hockey at night after his duty. He started taking interest in hockey during his deployment in the British Indian Army. He participated in various hockey matches within the army. In 1926, he was included in the Indian Army tour as a hockey team to New Zealand. He got an appreciation for his wonderful contribution in winning 18 out of 21 matches. 

Courtesy: Abhi and Niyu

With his amusing talent and control over the ball, he earned tremendous respect and love from all over the world. Soon India decided to form a federation for hockey known as the Indian Hockey Federation to send the Indian hockey team to participate in the 1928 Olympics, which took place in Amsterdam. When the federation was newly formed, Dhyanchand was called for the trials, as he was already the talk of the town for hockey in the British Indian Army. 

Interesting fact: Dhyanchand’s teammates used to call him “Chand”, as he used to wait for the moon to practice hockey at night.

Dhyanchand’s Journey to Success in the Olympics

After getting a spot in the Indian hockey team, Dhyanchand took this as an opportunity and played gracefully in the Olympics by scoring 14 goals in 5 matches. He became the top scorer of the tournament and helped the team win gold for the country. When he showcased his talents in the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928, he did not even have to give a trial for the next Olympics. During his journeys to 3 consecutive Olympic Games, he came out to be a hero not only in Indian hockey history but also in international hockey history. Everyone was astonished by his amazing mastery of the ball. Watching his undefeated performance in the 1928 Olympics, he went for the trials for the Olympics of 1932 and got selected along with his brother Roop Singh. During the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, he scored 12 goals in just two matches. The Indian team scored a total of 24 goals in a single match and among these goals, 10 were victoriously scored by Dhtanchand. This record of scoring 24 goals in a single match remained firm for 7 decades.

Courtesy: Prasar Bharati Archives

Becoming the Captain of the Indian Hockey Team

In 1934, he even became the captain of the Indian hockey team and helped in winning various matches for the country. Wherever he went, his dedication, skills, and talent used to mesmerize people like magic. In short, he scored a total of 37 goals in 12 matches throughout the three subsequent Olympic Games of 1928, 1932, and 1936. In the 1936 Olympic Games, he traveled to Berlin, where India remained undefeated and the match was won by 8-1 against the host country Germany. After the independence of India, he did not participate in the Indian Hockey Team for the Olympic Games in 1948. Later, in 1956, he retired from the Indian Army after serving for 34 years. Apart from the Olympics, the Indian hockey team was able to win the foremost international matches with the help of Dhyanchand. 

Khel Ratna Award renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award: PM Modi
Courtesy: Mint

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In 1934, he even became the captain of the Indian hockey team and helped in winning various matches for the country. Wherever he went, his dedication, skills, and talent used to mesmerize people like magic. In short, he scored a total of 37 goals in 12 matches throughout the three subsequent Olympic Games of 1928, 1932, and 1936. In the 1936 Olympic Games, he traveled to Berlin, where India remained undefeated and the match was won by 8-1 against the host country Germany. After the independence of India, he did not participate in the Indian Hockey Team for the Olympic Games in 1948. Later, in 1956, he retired from the Indian Army after serving for 34 years. Apart from the Olympics, the Indian hockey team was able to win the foremost international matches with the help of Dhyanchand. 

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Major Dhyan Chand Birthday Special: 7 Lesser Known Facts About Legendary  Indian Hockey Player, PM Narendra Modi Urges to Prioritise Sports on  National Sports Day | India.com
Courtesy: India.com

You will not be surprised to know that Dhyanchand was known as “The Wizard” for exhibiting outstanding hockey skills.

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Awards and Achievements 

Throughout Dhyanchand’s hockey playing career, he scored over 1000 goals, which included 400 goals that he scored internationally, and helped India in winning several hockey matches. His major awards and achievements were: 

  • Gold medal for Indian Hockey team in 1928 Olympics
  • Gold medal for Indian Hockey team in 1932 Olympics
  • Gold medal for Indian Hockey team in 1936 Olympics
  • Padma Bhushan Award in 1956

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Did you know? Given Dhyanchand’s domination over the hockey world, it might not come as a surprise to you that Dhyanchand was rumoured to be offered German citizenship by none other than Adolf Hitler.

The contribution of Dhyanchand in the field of hockey will always remain significant and will keep on inspiring the coming generation in the future. His story will act as a daily dose of motivation for young aspirants to bring glory to our country. For more such inspirational and interesting reads, stay tuned to Leverage Edu.

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