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August 29 marks the 112th birth anniversary of greatest sportsperson India has ever seen. The extraordinary athlete, Major Dhyan Chand who won gold for India in Olympics thrice, was known as 'The Wizard' of hockey.
When India was struggling to get independent from the clutches of British Rule, Dhyan Chand was making his own contribution in getting the country its well-deserved recognition.
Born on August 29, 1905, Dhyan Chand belonged to the family of hockey players, given his father played for British Army. Following his father's footsteps, he also joined the army at the tender age of 16.
Due to his habit of practicing hockey in the moonlight, his friends and colleagues started calling him, 'Chand' (Moon), hence the name transformation from his original name, Dhyan Singh.
In his 22 years of the Hockey career, Major Dhyan Chand scored over 400 goals. During the Berlin Olympic finals in 1936, Chand scored 12 goals in two matches leading to India winning by defeating Germany through 8-1.
Surprisingly, Dhyan Chand was initially interested in pursuing wrestling and only took up Hockey at the age of 14. He scored 10 goals of 20 in his maiden international tour of New Zealand in 1926.
He was later awarded the Padma Bhushan by Indian Government in 1956 for his splendid contribution to Indian Hockey and was later considered for the greatest honour, Bharat Ratna.
Known for his extraordinary ball control and sublime goal-scoring laurels, Major Dhyan Chand is the most celebrated Indian sportsperson.
Every year, on his birthday, Indian President presents the sports-related awards including the Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to honour sports persons who have made a recognisable contribution to Indian sports.
In 2012, Government of India announced his birth anniversary as the National Sports Day to pay tribute to the legendary hockey player.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi announced the launch of the 'Khelo India' initiative on his radio programme, 'Mann Ki Baat' and Sports Talent Search Portal was later launched on August 28 for people from all around the world to register and get training in their particular field of interest.
PM Modi said, "The country celebrates National Sports Day on the 29th of August. This is the birth anniversary of the great hockey player, hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand ji. His contribution to hockey was unparalleled. I am reminding you of this because I want the younger generation of our country to take part in sports." Khelo India is
Khelo India is a program where upcoming sports talent in India will be given training, funding and a stipend post selection.
On #NationalSportsDay, I congratulate all sportspersons and sports enthusiasts who pursue sports with great vigour and passion.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 29, 2017
I pay tributes to the exemplary Major Dhyan Chand, whose legendary sporting skills did wonders for Indian hockey.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 29, 2017
The #NationalSportsTalentSearchPortal gives essential direction & support to youngsters to pursue their sporting aspirations and shine.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 29, 2017