National Sports Day: Tribute to Dhyan Chand

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jan 10, 2022, 11:52

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.

When and Why is National Sports Day celebrated in India?

National Sports Day is celebrated on 29th August every year to commemorate the birthday of Major Dhyan Chand, the Indian hockey legend.

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 had a key role in assisting India's first Olympic gold medal hat-trick win at 1928, 1932, and 1936 Summer Olympics.

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 practised hockey in the moonlight at night after completing a regimental mission during the day. This is why he was named Dhyan' Chand'.

In 1936 he was chosen as the captain of the Indian hockey team. He became a lieutenant, 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. 

Awards and Recognition Associated with Indian Sports

The National Sports Awards are conferred by the Central Government 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 honour its sports heroes with recognition, appreciation, and exemplary awards such as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna which was 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 is to honour 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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FAQs about National Sports Day

Q.1. When was the first Indian National Sports Day celebrated?

National Sports Day was first celebrated in 2012. 

Q.2. When and why was Major Dhyan Chand named 'Lance Naik'?

Dhyan Chand gained exceptional victory in hockey, because of which he was called 'Lance Naik' in 1927 and was promoted to Nayak in 1932 and Subedar in 1936.

Q.3. When was Major Dhyan Chand born?

Major Dhyan Chand was born on 29th August in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.

Q.4. Why do we celebrate National Sports Day?

National Sports Day is celebrated on 29th August every year to commemorate the birthday of the great hockey legend, Dhyan Chand.