New Delhi: On the momentous day of Dhyan Chand's 108th birth anniversary, the hockey legend was unveiled here Thursday in a new avatar as part of a comic book series by well known publisher Amar Chitra Katha.
The 64-page graphic-biography was launched by Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium here.
"There could be no better day to celebrate the national sports day - the birthday of Dhyan Chand. He gave his heart and soul for the country. His legacy goes beyond hockey. The fact that he won three gold medals shows he was a true team man. What a patriot he was," Tharoor told reporters here.
"He got three coaching offers from foreign teams and he rejected all of them. He did not want to share his expertise with them as that could help in beating India. He remains the only Indian to get the foreign coaching offer till date. He is what Pele is to football and Muhammad Ali is to boxing. I am a cricket fan and I have read Don Bradman met Dhyan Chand in 1935 and the Australian told him that he was the best player he has seen," the minister added.
It is the first time in Amar Katha's 46 years history that a sportsperson has been featured in the publication.
"Dhyan Chand is a huge figure in the world of sport. He is the perfect role model, perfect icon for young people. In fact, he was the first choice when we thought of doing graphic novels on sports personalities," Reena Puri, editor of Amar Chitra Katha, said.
The hockey legend, in July, also became the the first sportperson recommended by sports minister for India's highest civilian honour - the Bharat Ratna.
Dhyan Chand won three gold medals at the Olympics - 1928 in Amsterdam, 1932 in Los Angeles and 1936 in Berlin. He passed away in 1979.
Each copy of the Amar Chitra Katha's Dhyan Chand special edition will cost Rs.90.