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  5. National Sports Day 2023: India celebrates birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand; theme and history

National Sports Day 2023: India celebrates birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand; theme and history

India celebrates National Sports Day every year since 2012 to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand.

Written By: India TV Sports Desk New Delhi Updated on: August 29, 2023 7:55 IST
Indian spectators
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES Indian spectators

August 29 is celebrated as the National Sports Day in India every year as the entire nation comes together to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand Singh. Regarded as the greatest hockey player of India, Dhyan Chand was born on August 29, 1905, in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The National Sports Day acts as a fitting tribute to Dhyan Chand who passed away on December 3, 1979.

The National Sports Day also known as Rashtriya Khel Divas is celebrated to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of athletes from diverse disciplines who brought laurels to the country by virtue of their performances across tournaments. In addition to that, the day also serves a useful purpose in generating awareness about sportsmanship and the benefits of playing different kinds of sports.

Theme

The theme of this year's National Sports Day celebration is "Sports are an enabler to an inclusive and fit society".

The occasion is celebrated by honouring several athletes with prestigious awards including Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award (formerly Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award), Dronacharya Award, and Arjuna Award among others. The President of India confers all the sports awards during a special ceremony organised at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

History 

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National Sports Day was celebrated for the very first time in 2012 and has been a tradition ever since. Major Dhyan Chand, who has been one of the inspirations behind the momentous occasion, was one of the most decorated hockey players of his time and arguably the greatest ever produced by India thus far.

He started his playing career with the regimental team of the British Indian Army. Dhyan Chand was an integral part of the Indian teams that won gold medals at the 1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles, and 1936 Berlin Olympics. In a career that spanned over two decades from 1926 to 1948, the hockey wizard scored over 400 goals. After he announced his retirement, the government of India awarded him with the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the nation.

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