Some Lesser Known Facts About Dhyan Chand
- Dhyan Chand is considered the greatest player in the history of Hockey, famously known as the “Wizard of Hockey” or in Hindi as “Hockey Ka Jadugar.”
- Dhyan Chand had no serious inclination towards sports as a child. Though he used to indulge in casual games with friends. In fact, he did not play field Hockey until he joined the army.
- He had to quit school after class 6th as his father was in the army and the family had to shift frequently because of the transfers.
- Once when Dhyan Chand was 14 years old, he accompanied his father to watch a hockey match. Watching a team lose by 2 goals, Chand asked his father wether he could play from the losing side. His father agreed, and Dhyan Chand scored four goals in that match. Watching his performance, the Army officials were so impressed, and he was offered to join the army.
- He joined the British Indian Army as a sepoy in 1921, at the age of 16.
- Dhyan Chand’s real name was Dhyan Singh. The “Chand” in his name literally means “The Moon” as he used to practice a lot at night. He was given this name by his first coach Pankaj Gupta.
- He played his first National match in 1925, and by his performance in that match, he was selected for the Indian National Team.
- He scored a hattrick in his International Debut match.
- In the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics, he was the highest goal scorer of the tournament, scoring 14 goals in 5 matches. Since then he started to be known as The Hockey Wizard.
- India played 37 matches in a world tour that followed the Olympics to recover their expenses. They won 34, drawing 2 and one match being canceled. Dhyan Chand alone scored 133 goals out of India’s 338.
- Dhyan Chand was appointed the captain of the team in December 1934.
- In 1935 the cricketing legend Don Bradman witnessed his first ever hockey match in which Dhyan Chand was playing. He was so impressed that he complimented Dhyan Chand by saying, ” You score goals like runs in cricket.”
- In the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Dhyan Chand was again the top scorer and India won the gold yet another time.
- It is said that even Adolf Hitler was impressed by Dhyan Chand’s game so much so that he offered him the Field Marshal position in the German Army.
- Dhyan Chand was chosen the captain of the Indian team in 1947 for a series of matches. Chand, though now in his forties, still managed to score 61 goals in 22 matches.
- He played his final international match in 1948.
- Dhyan Chand was not able to score a goal against the opposition in one of the matches. He then argued with the match referee about the measurement of the goal post and his claim turned out to be true. It was found that it did not comply with the official width of a goal post according to international rules.
- Dhyan Chand scored close to 400 goals in his international career from 1926 to 1948. Dhyan Chand retired from first-class hockey in 1948.
- Dhyan Chand retired from the army in 1956 aged 51, with the rank of Major.
- Dhyan Chand was honored by an Indian Postal Stamp in recognition of his contribution to Indian hockey.
- Since 2002, every year an award in his name, called the Dhyan Chand Award is given to honour the lifetime achievement in Sports and Games.
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