Born on August 29, 1905, in Allahabad to Sharadha Singh and Sameshwar Singh – a soldier in the British Indian Army, Dhyan Singh was drawn towards hockey at a very early age. Like his father, he too enrolled himself in the army at the age of 16 and continued to play his favourite sport there.
First noticed on the global stage during India’s first international tour in 1926 (to New Zealand), Dhyan Chand made his Olympic debut with the Indian hockey team at Amsterdam in 1928 and scored 14 goals route winning the gold medal.
Dhyan Chand would win two more gold medals in consecutive Olympics at Los Angeles 1932 and Berlin 1936, the latter as captain, to complete a hat-trick of Olympic golds and retire with an unbeaten Olympic record to his name.
“The Olympic complex now has a magic show too.”
Headlines (in translation) in a leading Berlin newspaper after Dhyan Chand’s 1st appearance in the Berlin Olympics.
Major Dhyan Chand, the Hockey Wizard, is widely regarded as India’s greatest hockey player. From 1926 to 1948, he scored more than 1,000 goals and helped secure three Olympic Gold medals for India, including the first in 1928. He serves as an inspiration to many, having become synonymous with hockey and the benchmark by which other players’ caliber is measured. He quickly rose on the hockey field like a meteor.
He retired from his army service in 1956 as Major Dhyan Chand and was conferred the Padma Bhushan – the third-highest civilian award in India – the same year
He died late in 1979, at the age of 74, but the legend lives on in India.
The nation celebrates its National Sports Day on Dhyan Chand’s birthday (August 29), and he is the only hockey player to have a commemorative postage stamp and the First-Day Cover in his honour.