National Sports Day 2021: Nation remembers Major Dhyan Chand on 116th birth anniversary
August 29 is celebrated annually as National Sports Day in memory of the legendary Hockey player and Olympian.
On Sunday, August 29, the nation is remembering legendary Olympian and, arguably the greatest Hockey player of all time, Major Dhyan Chand, on what is his 116th birth anniversary. As a tribute to Dhyan Chand, his birthday is commemorated as National Sports Day. This year, the occasion has coincided with India registering its best-ever finish in the Olympics, winning seven medals in recently concluded Games in Tokyo. Indian athletes are winning medals in the ongoing Paralympics as well, which, like the Olympics, are being hosted in Japan’s capital city.
Union home minister Amit Shah took to Twitter to pay his respect to Dhyan Chand. “With his dedication and achievements, Major Dhyan Chand gave Indian Hockey a new identity. His passion and determination to bring glory to India, despite facing a lack of basic resources, shall always inspire us,” a rough translation of Shah’s tweet, posted in Hindi, read.
On August 6, prime minister Narendra Modi announced that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour, is being renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in the memory of the legendary Olympian, on popular demand. Dhyan Chand, who passed away on December 3, 1979, at the age of 74, was a member of the Indian Men’s Hockey teams which won three successive Olympic gold medals, in 1928, 1932 and 1936. In 1956, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third-highest civilian award.
In Tokyo, the Men’s Hockey team won finished third, winning its first Olympic medal since Moscow 1980, when it won its eighth gold in the sport. The Women’s team, meanwhile, came agonisingly close to winning a bronze of its own, which would have been its maiden Olympic medal. India won three other bronze medals, in addition to a gold and two silver medals.