He won 3 Olympic Gold Medals; in 1928 at Amsterdam, in 1932 at Los Angeles and in 1936 at Berlin; and was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in the year 1956. Dhyan Chand was the elder brother of Roop Singh, his fellow player. Major Dhyan Chand Singh is regarded as a figure of great reverence and several legends about the great hockey player are still famous in the realm of Indian sport.
Early Life of Dhyan Chand
Dhyan Chand was born on the 29th August, 1905 at Prayag in Allahabad .Chand's father, Sameshwar Dutt Singh, served in the Indian Army during British ruleand there he also played hockey. Dhyan Chand Singh had two brothers; Roop Singh and Mool Singh. Due to several army transfers of his father, Chand's family continuously moved to different cities and it hampered his study.
Therefore, Dhyan Chand had to leave his studies after class six. His family settled finally in Jhansi. From his childhood, Dhyan Chand never had any serious interest towards sports, although he loved wrestling. Dhyan Chand Singh joined the services of Indian Army when he was 16 years old in the year 1922. Subedar-Major Bale Tiwari discovered the dribbling skills of Dhyan Chand and helped him develop his skills.
A great enthusiast of hockey, Tiwari noticed the talent of Chand and became the mentor of Dhyan Chand and set the foundations of Chand's career in hockey. Later Pankaj Gupta became the first Coach of Dhyan Singh. Seeing the budding spirit of his student he had predicted that one day Dhyan Singh would shine like the Moon. As moon in Hindi language is known as Chand, Dhyan Singh came to be known as Dhyan Chand after that.
Career of Dhyan Chand
Between the years from 1922 to 1926, Dhyan Chand Singh played exclusively in the regimental games and the army hockey tournaments. He finally secured a place in the Indian Army team which was scheduled to tour New Zealand.
The Indian Army hockey team won eighteen matches; lost only one and drew two and thus received the praises of all the spectators. When the team returned India, Dhyan Chand immediately got a promotion and became a Lance Naik in the army.
In 1926, Dhyan Chand Singh was included in the Indian Hockey team for the New Zealand tour. In a match at Dannkerke, the team scored twenty goals and Chand scored ten goals alone. India played twenty one matches in the New Zealand tour, and from that they won eighteen, drew two and lost only one match. A total of 192 goals were scored by the team and Dhyan Chand Singh scored more than 100 goals alone. After Chand's return to India, he got a promotion and became Lance Nayak in the Army. In the year 1927, at the London Folkstone Festival, Chand scored a total of thirty six goals out of the total seventy two goals scored by India, in ten matches.
Achievements of Dhyan Chand
Dhyan Chand played in the hockey team of India in the Amsterdam Olympic Games in the year 1928, and he scored 2 of the 3 goals scored in the final game against Netherlands and thus, bagging the Gold Medal for Indian by a 3-0 win. In the year 1932, in the Los Angeles Olympics, Lal Shah Bukhari led the Indian hockey team to win the Gold Medal. In this Olympic, the hockey team of India defeated the United States of America hockey team by 23-1, which stayed as a world record until the same was broken in 2003. Dhyan Chand scored 8 goals from among the 23 goals in that match. In the entire event, Chand scored, in 2 matches, a total of 12 goals.
The Indian hockey team went to the finals of the Berlin Olympics in the year 1932. In the Semi-Finals, they beat France by 10 goals, and prepared themselves to play in the final against Germany. India won the final match along with the Olympic Gold Medal by 8-1. The German dictator Adolf Hitler, purportedly offered Chand a higher designation in the German Army, if he became a German resident, to which Chand denied politely.
In 1956, the 51 years old Dhyan Chand retired from his services in the Indian Army as a Major. The Government of India honoured Chand in 1956 with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour of India. He remained the only player of hockey to be honoured by the Padma Bhushan till date. He scored over 1000 goals in his career, from 1926 to 1948.
Dhyan Chand is also known as the Wizard for his outstanding ball control. Dhyan Chand's birthday on 29th August is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. On this day the President gives away sport-related awards such as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award. Dhyan Chand Award is regarded as India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports. This award is bestowed annually from 2002 to sporting figures. In his honour even the National Stadium located in Delhi was renamed as Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002. "Goal" is the autobiography of Hockey wizard Dhyan Chand, published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai in1952
Retirement of Dhyan Chand
Major Dhyan Chand Singh continued playing hockey till he attained the age of 42 years, and then he retired from hockey in the year 1948. After retiring from Army, Chand taught hockey at coaching camps at Mount Abu in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Afterwards, he was offered the position of Chief Hockey Coach at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala. Dhyan Chand remained in that post for a number of years.
Death of Dhyan Chand
Chand spent the last part of his life in Jhansi, his hometown. He died on the 3rd of December 1979, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences or AIIMS, Delhi. Dhyan Chand was cremated at the Jhansi Heroes ground in Jhansi, after few initial problems in securing clearance. The Punjab Regiment, of which Chand was a part while he worked in the Indian Army, accorded Major Dhyan Chand Singh with full military honours.
Dhyan Chand was a different kind of person. During matches or at home, he preferred always to keep to himself and was of the opinion that it would be good if one stays silent and just performed his job or duty.
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