The 118th birth anniversary of India's hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand will mark the celebrations of National Sports Day 2023. The National Sports Day was started back in 2012 to celebrate the achievements of Major Dhyan Chand and the laurels he brought to the country in the game of hockey, India's national sport. Major Dhyan Chand, who won gold medals in the Olympics for India in the years 1928, 1932 and 1936, scored a whopping 570 goals for his country from 1926 to 1949 in 185 matches and over 1,000 goals in domestic and international matches combined.
Not just hockey, Dhyan Chand is considered probably the greatest athlete who has ever played for his country. Chand received India's third highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan in 1956. He may be regarded as hockey's equivalent of Muhammad Ali by BBC or have India's highest sporting honour Khel Ratna Award in his name but there are still a few interesting facts about him that are not known in public. Let's take a look at them-
1. Dhyan Singh got his name Dhyan Chand during his time with the Indian Army. Singh joined the army at the age of 16. He used to practice hockey at night time, which is coincidentally the time of the moon and hence he got his name Dhyan Chand (moon in Hindi).
2. “This is not a game of hockey, but magic. Dhyan Chand is, in fact, the magician of hockey," a news report read after Dhyan Chand scored 14 goals in the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.
3. His hockey stick was once broken by the authorities in the Netherlands to check if there was a magnet inside.
4. India beat USA 24-1 and Japan 11-1 in the 1932 Summer Olympics. Out of the 35 goals, the Singh brothers contributed 25 of them with Dhyan Chan scoring 12 and Roop Singh netting 13. They were called 'hockey twins' since then.
5. 'The Olympic complex now has a magic show too,' a German newspaper's headline read after the first match of India in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The whole city had poster of "Visit the hockey stadium to watch the Indian magician Dhyan Chand in action" referring to Dhyan Chand, who was popularly known as a Wizard or magician.
6. Dhyan Chand even impressed the German dictator, Adolf Hitler, so much so that the latter offered him citizenship and a post in German military which the Hockey star declined.
6. With Dhyan Chand, him not scoring was a surprise and it happened once. Dhyan Chand wasn't happy with the same and asked the official to measure the goalpost. To everybody’s surprise, Dhyan Chand was indeed right as the goalpost was found to be illegal as per the official minimum width rules.