National Sports Day: Today is Sports Day. Fortunately, the tradition of celebrating the birthday of hockey magician Major Dhyan Chand is as a sports day. I say ‘thank you’ because political losses and losses have made many personalities to Bharat Ratna, but the country has not been able to give that honor even to the player who rejected the offer from even the world’s greatest dictator Adolf Hitler. It was the year 1936. The date was August 15th. The birth of the world’s largest democracy was still 11 years old. Hosts Germany and India were face to face in the Berlin Olympic hockey final.
Adolf Hitler was also present at the stadium. The German team would win the match in any case. The players came down on push. Dhyan Chand’s teeth were broken after hitting German goalkeeper Tito Warneholtz. But he quickly returned to the field. Under Dhyanchand’s captain, India led Germany 8–1. Three goals were scored by Dhyanchand and two goals were scored by his brother Roop Singh. A minor major of the British Indian Army crushed Hitler’s tail that day. Hitler proposed to make Dhyanchand a German citizen and a colonel in the German army, which the 31-year-old Dhyanchand politely declined. In the Berlin Olympics, India scored 38 goals and ate only one goal. 11 goals came out of Dhyanchand’s stick. On his first international tour of the Berlin Olympics, Dhyanchand scored 59 goals out of 175.
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Dyanchand’s sting had started ringing about a decade before the Berlin Olympics. At the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, Dhyanchand scored 14 goals in 5 matches. In the final, India won the gold medal by defeating host Holland 3-0. Dhyanchand scored two goals. Then he was only 23 years old. Four years later, India scored 338 goals on the pre-Olympic tour in 1932. Among them, Dhyanchand scored 133 goals. He scored 19 goals out of 35 at the Olympics in Los Angeles. In the final, India won the gold medal by defeating host America 24–1. After 8 goals, Dhyanchand’s reign in the hockey world was established.
He scored over 400 goals in his international career. He has three Olympic gold medals. There are many funny stories related to Dhyanchand. When they were unable to score goals in a match. He measured the width of the goal post, which turned out to be smaller. It is said that the ball was attached to his stick like a magnet. In the Netherlands, authorities broke his stick and tried to see if there was a magnet in it. In 1947, East Africa invited the Indian team. But kept the condition that there is no need to come without Dhyanchand.
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Major Dhyanchand has the credit of Pelé in football, Mohammad Ali in boxing and Sir Don Bradman in cricket. In 1935, the Indian team took a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Dhyanchand then met Don Bradman. Bradman said, “You score at that speed, just like batsmen score races in cricket.” Positioning, deflection, team spirit and speed make him the best hockey player to date. Dadda continued to play for 44 years and his edge remained intact until the end. The world respects him even today. In Aligarh Muslim University, where he used to study, today a hostel is named after him. The Astotorf course at London’s Indian Gymkhana Club is called Dhyanchand Turf. In 2012, during the London Olympics, a subway station was named after Dhyanchand.
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Major Dhyanchand, born in 1905 in Allahabad, was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1956. Every year on the 29th of his birthday, the President of the country awards sportsmen and sportsmen sports awards. After his retirement from the Indian Army in 1951, he remained a trainer for a few days. The last day of life I went through lack of problems. He died in 1979 in AIIMS, Delhi, and was battling liver cancer. The question is, what gave the country to Dadda, even after winning three Olympic golds?
Sanjay Kishore is deputy editor of NDTV’s sports department …
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