Dhyanchand Khel Ratna Award: Khel Ratna in the name of Major Dhyanchand, find out all about this legendary player
India’s men’s and women’s hockey teams put up an outstanding performance at the Tokyo Olympics. The men’s team won a medal at the Olympics after 41 years, while the women’s team won a bronze medal. On such an occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has named the country’s highest sports award ‘Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna’ after Major Dhyanchand. Known as the ‘Magician of Hockey’, Dhyan Chand surprised the world with his game.
He amazed the world with his hockey skills. If the ball had hit his stick, it would have been ‘stick’. Dhyanchand was born on 29 August 1905 at Prayagraj (then Allahabad) to Shraddha Singh and Sameshwar Singh. Dhyan Chand was a soldier in the British Army and had been interested in hockey since childhood. At the age of 16, he enlisted in the British Army.
Between 1922 and 1926 he played in several regiment games and hockey competitions. This improved his playing skills. He loved hockey so much that he played it even after finishing his night duty. For this reason, the moon was added to his name.
Indian troops visit New Zealand in 1926. The Indian team defeated New Zealand. They won 18 matches there, drew two and lost just one match. After this tour, Dhyan Chand got full appreciation. He was later promoted to Lance Naik in the British Indian Army.
He then accompanied the Indian team to the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Hockey was included in the Olympics for the first time. The Indian Hockey Federation wanted to send its best team for the game. Competitions were held in the states to select Olympic teams. Punjab, Bengal, Rajputana and United Provinces (UP) and Union Territories participated. Dhyan Chand was allowed to play for UP as the Army team was not playing in it. He took full advantage of this opportunity and caused a lot of trouble to the selectors because of his game.
The selection took place in the Olympics. Now the question was how to reach Amsterdam. For this he had to face many financial difficulties. The Indian hockey team, however, was in great form and played amazing hockey there.
Dhyan Chand performed brilliantly and scored 14 goals in 5 matches. India won the gold medal for the first time. After this, Dhyan Chand took his game to greater heights. India once again won a gold medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. This Olympics was a bit special. Dhyanchand’s brother Rupsingh was also with him. He scored 10 goals in the match against USA. India won the match 24-1. This time the gold medal also came to India.
Then came the year 1936
Dhyan Chand was in the last two Olympics as an athlete. But Dhyan Chand was the captain of the team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He carried out this responsibility very well. The Indian team had scored a total of 38 goals in the tournament, while only one goal was scored against them in the final. But the match was in India’s name and also in the gold medal.
On 15 August 1936, the Indian team was playing its final match against Germany. However, before the final match, there was an atmosphere of fear and anxiety in the Indian camp. The reason for this was the German dictator Adolf Hitler. Hitler would come to watch the match with 40,000 spectators.
Former Indian hockey coach Syed Ali Sibten Naqvi had said, “Dada Dhyanchand scored six goals in the 1936 Olympic final and India won the match 8-1. Hitler saluted Dada and offered him to join the German army.
Naqvi had said, ‘Dada did not say anything on the occasion of award distribution. There was silence throughout the stadium. Everyone was afraid that if Dhyan Chand refused the offer, the dictator could shoot him. My grandfather told me that he had answered Hitler as loudly as an Indian soldier. ‘India is not being sold.’
The 40,000 spectators in the stadium were surprised when Hitler saluted them instead of shaking hands. Hitler said to Dhyan Chand, ‘The German nation salutes you for your country India and nationalism. Hitler gave him the title of the magician of hockey. Such players are born once in a century.
National Sports Awards
After returning from Berlin, Dhyanchand confined himself to regimental hockey. However, Indian hockey continued to dominate for a long time. He retired from the army in 1956. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan. He died in 1979 at the age of 74.
August 2 is the national sports day celebrated in the country as Dhyan Chand’s birthday. And on this day sports awards are given.
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