The sports ministry’s decision to recommend the name of hockey legend Dhyan Chand for the country’s highest award has enthused family members of the sporting hero who felt that bestowing the Bharat Ratna on him could help in promoting the game among the younger generation.
The sports ministry on Friday revealed that it recommended Dhyan Chand, a three-time Olympic gold medalist who passed away in 1979. Dhyan Chand was a member of the victorious squads in the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics and is widely regarded as the greatest hockey player ever.
Dhyan Chand’s eldest son, 72-year-old Brijmohan Dhyanchand, said that the award was long overdue as his father’s exploits on the field has become a legend in India’s glorious history of hockey.
Brijmohan, who lives in Kota, is the eldest of Dhyan Chand’s seven sons and was a district sports officer before his retirement.
The proud son recalled that Dhyan Chand also holds the world record of scoring the maximum number of goals. “Even German dictator Adolf Hitler was so impressed by the talent of Dhyan Chand in the Berlin Olympics in 1936 that he had had even offered the Indian the rank of major general in German Army when he was a lance nayak in Indian Army. But my father refused the offer and continued to play for India,” Brijmohan said when contacted by Hindustan Times for his reactions.
He said that his father was a simple and humble person but “very disciplined individual as he was in Army”.
Recalling that Dhyan Chand had visited Kota on two occasions for the DCM Shriram hockey tournament, Brijmohan expressed disappointment over the “deplorable condition” of hockey in the country with the national team struggling to even qualify for the Olympics.
Son of Brijmohan and grandson of Dhyan Chand, Vishal Dhyan Chand, who is the district sports officer in Baran, said that if Bharat Ratna is conferred upon Dhyan Chand, then it would also promote hockey among the youngsters.