August 29 -National Sports Day
August 29 is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. The day marks the commemoration of the great, legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand Singh. Dhyan Chand was born on 29th August 1905 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Also known as “Hockey Wizard”, Major Dhyan Chand made India proud by his extraordinary sporting skills. He was a celebrated player who catapulted Indian hockey to new heights. Those who watched him play often reminisce of his extraordinary ability to conjure magic on the hockey field. The international career of Shri Dhyan Chand began in 1926. His goal-scoring feats are stuff of the legends. Many a times, he single-handedly won matches for the nation.
Dhyan Chand was a highly successful Indian hockey team captain. He won 3 Olympic gold medals for the country. Dhyan Chand’s international hockey career was also the golden phase of Indian hockey. His name was enough to make opponents shiver. One of the all time greats in the history of hockey, Major Dhyan chand played till the age of 42 and retired in the year 1948. A recipient of India’s third highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, he was also famous for his exemplary conduct off and on the field. Till the date, he remains the only player in hockey to receive this award.
Dhyan Chand retired from his services in Army at the age of 51. He died of liver cancer on 3rd December, 1979. A postage stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Service in his honor. Indian government also initiated “Dhyan Chand Award” dedicated to the greatest hockey player India has ever produced. This is a lifetime achievement award given to those who have contributed significantly in the field of sports. There is also a stadium in Delhi named after the famous sportsman.
On National Sports Day, the President of India gives National Sports Awards such as Arjuna Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Dhronacharya Award to great players who have done extraordinary feats to make the country proud in the last year. August 29 is celebrated by all the sportsmen. The day is also celebrated as the Annual Sports Day in many schools across the country.