Artist Gurpreet Singh using nails to make portrait of hockey legend Dhyan Chand on the eve of his 107th birth anniversary in Amritsar on Tuesday. AFP photo
The sports ministry has recommended hockey legend late Dhyan Chand over cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar for the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.
The ministry of Friday said the choice was logical because it had to name only one sportsperson for the Bharat Ratna to the Prime Minister’s Office. For them, three-time Olympic gold medallist Dhyan Chand, who passed away in 1979, was the right choice.
“We had to name just one sportsperson for the Bharat Ratna and it was Dhyan Chand. With all due respect to Tendulkar, Dhyan Chand is a legend in Indian sports. And it was logical to recommend Dhyan Chand for the Bharat Ratna since we have named every other trophy after him,” Pradip Deb, secretary sports, told IANS.
Hockey India (HI), which had recommended Dhyan Chand’s name earlier this year, was also elated.
“It is a proud moment for Indian hockey. We sincerely hope that he is given the award,” Narinder Batra, secretary general of Hockey India (HI), said.
Dhyan Chand, who won three gold medals at the Olympics — in 1928, 1932 and 1936 — is widely considered as the greatest hockey player the world has ever seen.