The Greatest Hockey Player In World’s History: The Story Of Major Dhyan Chand

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Dhyan Chand is widely considered to be the best hockey player of all time. His goal scoring ability was phenomenal and the opposition defenders were often made to look like sitting ducks in front of this wizard from India.
Dhyan Chand is widely considered to be the best hockey player of all time. His goal scoring ability was phenomenal and the opposition defenders were often made to look like sitting ducks in front of this wizard from India.

Dhyan Chand is widely considered to be the best hockey player of all time. His goal scoring ability was phenomenal and the opposition defenders were often made to look like sitting ducks in front of this wizard from India.

Chand played a pivotal role in India winning three consecutive Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936. His birthday, 29th August, is celebrated as the National Sports Day in India and the President gives away awards such as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dronacharya awards on this day.

There was a time when Hockey held the status that Cricket holds in India today. An era when people used to wake up at 4 is just so they can hear hockey match commentary on the radio, or walk for kilometres just so they can play hockey. That was the era of Dhyan Chand!

But before we speak of Dhyan Chand’s greatness, let us understand in plain numbers how great he was in his game. For a better understanding, let us make a comparison with the greatest sports icon of our times – Sachin Tendulkar.

Now you know the kind of phenomenon we are talking about.

Some Secrets About Dhyan Chand

Born on August 29 1905, Dhyan Chand was the eldest son in a family of hockey players. His father Sameshwar Dutt Singh was part of the British Indian Army and was also part of the Army hockey team. He had two brothers Mool Singh and Roop Singh.

We know Dhyan Chand as the greatest name in the game of hockey, so it comes as a surprise that he never played any serious game of hockey till he joined the Indian Army at the age 16.

His friends called him ‘Chand’ or Moon. But do you know why?

He was called moon because he was so devoted to the game of Hockey that he would often be seen practising in the moonlight after his daily duty hours assigned by the Indian Army was over.

His Illustrious Career

In his initial fours years with Indian Army Hockey team, Dhyan Chand played 21 games. The team was so good that out of the 21 games that they played, they won 18 matches, drew 2 and lost only 1. Dhyan Chand’s performance was exemplary and for his performance, he was soon promoted to the rank of Lance Naik.

His greatest achievement came when India won the Olympic Gold Medal in hockey in 1928, the year when hockey was made an Olympic sport.

But that was not all. After winning the first Olympic Gold medal, Dhyan Chand’s India would go on to win the Gold in the next two Olympic events as well, played in 1932 and 1936. For more than a decade after that, India would continue to dominate Field Hockey.

A popular Indian narrative about Dhyan Chand is how he rejected an offer made by Adolf Hitler, while he was in Germany.

After winning his third Olympic Gold medal, Chand went back to join his regiment and from there on largely played only Army Hockey till 1939, when World War II broke out. It was during these four years that Chand was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

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