National Sports Day 2023: Significance, Award, Tribute to Major Dhyan Chand

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Aug 29, 2023, 11:37

National Sports Day is celebrated every year on 29th August. Sports are important to maintain our physical and mental health. India has created many sports legends, including the Udanpari of India—PT Usha, Master-Blaster—Sachin Tendulkar, and our very own Hockey Wizard—Major Dhyan Chand. National Sports Day or Rashtirya Khel Diwas was included in the list of celebratory days for the first time in 2012.

States like Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, and others, organize sporting events and seminars to spread awareness about the significance of physical activities and sports in life. The Indian government uses this day as a medium to establish different sports schemes, one of which was the Khelo India movement, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018.

National Sports Day 2023 in India

On the birth anniversary of Dhyan Chand, hockey wizard, National Sports Day 2023 is celebrated in India. This day is a yearly reminder of the necessity for sporting activities in life. At a special ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President of India offered awards on this day.

Dhyan Chand was viewed as the star of the Indian hockey team that dominated the sport before World War II. Not only this, he played a vital role in helping India achieve their first hat-trick of winning Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936 Summer Olympics.

When and Why is National Sports Day celebrated in India?

National Sports Day is celebrated on 29th August every year to mark the birthday of the Indian hockey legend, Dhyan Chand. The main reason for celebrating National Sports Day is to promote sports activities in the country. The day is when the National Sports Awards is given to an athlete as a recognition for their continuous efforts and discipline in their sports.

The Dhyan Chand award acknowledges the lifetime contribution of an athlete. The first recipients acquiring their awards in 2002 were Shahuraj Birajdar (boxing), Ashok Diwan (hockey), and Aparna Ghosh (basketball).

Who was Dhyan Chand?

Major Dhyan Chand was born on 29th August 1905, in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, as Dhyan Singh, and was well-known in India's pre-independence era. He was key in assisting India's first Olympic gold medal hat-trick win at 1928, 1932, and 1936 Summer Olympics. His birth date is celebrated as National Sports Day in India.

  • Dhyan Chand began his hockey career with a regimental team of the British Indian Army and was devoted to his game.
  • According to the official Olympic website, he practiced hockey in the moonlight at night after completing a daily regimental mission, which is why he was named Dhyan' Chand'.
  • In 1936, he was chosen as the captain of the Indian hockey team.
  • He became a lieutenant and a captain and was eventually promoted to major.

How did 29th August Emerge as the National Sports Day of India?

The Government of India paid tribute to the great sportsman Dhyan Chand in 2012 and decided to celebrate his birthday as National Sports Day. The day is important because it reminds people to perform physical exercises and participate in sports regularly. Sports have countless health advantages such as a lower chance of obesity, sound sleep, increased cardiovascular fitness, good bone health, and proper coordination and balance of the body.

National Sports Day Awards and Recognition

The Central Government conferred the National Sports Awards at a special ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan to recognize athletes' contributions to the discipline.

  • National Sports Day of India is also an opportunity for the country to honor its sports heroes with recognition, appreciation, and exemplary awards, such as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, initially referred to as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
  • This award is reserved for outstanding achievements normally awarded to Olympic champions in the year of the Olympic Games.
  • The 5-time World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand, was the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
  • The other awards bestowed include the Dhyan Chand Award (the youngest award), the Arjuna Award (oldest and was first awarded in 1961), and the Dronacharya Award (launched in 1985).
  • The Arjuna Award honors athletes for their achievements in the previous seasons.
  • The Dronacharya Award, on the other hand, is awarded to the best Indian and International coaches who have contributed to the growth and development of sports in India.
  • The Dhyan Chand Award recognizes the lifelong contributions of athletes in the field.

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National Sports Day Quotes in India

All those who love to play sports and indulge in physical activities, including hockey, football, volleyball, badminton, and more, check out national sports day quotes given below by some famous sports personalities.

  • Being a mother of two, if I can win a medal, so can you all. Don't give up; take me as an example." – Mary Kom.
  • "Dreams define your individuality. They have the power to offer you wings and make you fly high." – PV Sindhu.
  • "People will throw stones at you; you turn them into milestones." – Sachin Tendulkar.
  • "One needs to plan accurately to be at the peak. Anyone can't make the Mistake of reaching the peak or Olympics, a week earlier or a week later." – Prakash Padukone.
  • "Confidence or even pretending to be confident is essential. If you make an error but do not let your Opponent see what you are thinking, he may overlook the Mistake." Viswanathan Anand.
  • "One of the excitement of playing at the world's top venues is to see the Indian flag go up whenever I'm participating. That's enough motivation for any Indian to perform there." – Sania Mirza.
  • "I would not stop till I filled a bucket with my sweat. I would force myself so much that, in the end, I would collapse and have to be admitted to hospital; I would pray to God to save me and promise that I would be more careful in the future. And then I would do it all over again." – Milkha Singh.

FAQs on National Sports Day

When was the first Indian National Sports Day celebrated?

National Sports Day is commemorated on 29th August annually. The first National Sports Day was celebrated in 2012, on the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand, considered India's hockey team's star.

When and why was Major Dhyan Chand named 'Lance Naik'?

Dhyan Chand gained a notable hockey victory, called 'Lance Naik' in 1927, and was promoted to Nayak in 1932 and Subedar in 1936. In the same year, he became the Captain of the Indian hockey team. He became a middle-level officer in the army, Captain, and was ultimately promoted to Major.

When was Major Dhyan Chand born?

Major Dhyan Chand was born on 29th August in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. He was the Captain of the Indian hockey team who won a gold medal at the Berlin Olympics In 1936.

Why do we celebrate National Sports Day?

On 29th August, National Sports Day is observed to commemorate the birthday of the great hockey legend Dhyan Chand. The aim of launching National sports day in India was mainly to encourage youth and other citizens to indulge in sports and extracurricular activities.

What is the theme of the National Sports Day 2023?

"Sports are an enabler to an inclusive and fit society" is the theme of 2023 National Sports Day. The day highlights the need to stay fit and healthy. National Sports Day aims to spread awareness of the significance of outdoor sports activities in every person's life.