Dhyan Chand (29 August 1905 – 3 December 1979) was an Indian field hockey player, who is widely considered as the greatest field hockey player of all time. Chand is most remembered for his extraordinary goal-scoring feats, in addition to earning three Olympic gold medals (1928, 1932, and 1936) in field hockey, during an era where India was the most dominant team in Hockey.
Known as “The Wizard” for his superb ball control, Chand played his final international match in 1948, having scored more than 400 goals during his international career.
Even today, Dhyan Chand remains a legendary figure in Indian and world hockey. His astounding skills have been glorified in various apocryphal stories and anecdotes. A number of such these revolve around the fact that Singh had a magical control over dribbling the ball. 29 August, Chand’s birthday, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. The President gives away sport-related awards such as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award on this day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, India.
The Union Minister of India gives away 20th National Award 2012, namely Gem of India, to the magician of hockey i.e. Major Dhyan Chand. The award was received by his son Ashok Dhyan Chand (hockey Olympian himself) on behalf of his late Hon’ble father; award was given by Journalist Association of India under the flagship of Journalists Federation of India, Sirifort Auditorium, New Delhi, India, on 22 September 2012.
India’s highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is the Dhyan Chand Award which has been awarded annually from 2002 to sporting figures who not only contribute through their performance but also contribute to the sport after their retirement. The National Stadium, Delhi was renamed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002 in his honour.
He scored over 400 goals in his career, from 1926 to 1948.
Astro-turf hockey pitch, at the Indian Gymkhana Club in London has been named after Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand.
In 1956, at the age of 51, he retired from the army with the rank of Major. After he retired he coached for a while, and then settled in his beloved Jhansi. However,The last days of Dhyan Chand were not very happy, as he was short of money and was badly ignored by the nation. Once he went to a tournament in Ahmedabad and they turned him away not knowing who he was. He developed liver cancer, and was sent to a general ward at the AIIMS, New Delhi.