India’s National Sports Day

Sports - balls from different sportsIndia celebrates National Sports Day on 29th August every year, however, there are few that are aware that India has a National Sports Day.

The day on which the National Sports Day is celebrated was chosen to be the same day that Dhyan Chand had celebrated his birthday. While Dhyan Chand, the Indian hockey legend is well known, not many know that his birthday was chosen to celebrate all sports in India.

Each year on this date, the Indian government holds a ceremony that takes place at the Rashrapati Bhawan. At the ceremony, a number of sports awards are presented, including the Rajiv Gandhi Khen Ratna award.

On the National Sports Day, to mark the sports day and remember Chand on his birthday, a number of Indian hockey teams play friendly matches at the Dhyan Chand National stadium in New Delhi.

About Dhyan Chand

Dhyan Chand was born on 29th August 1905 and died on 3rd December 1979. Not only was he considered the greatest Indian field hockey player, many consider him to have been the greatest field hockey player of all time. Chand won three Olympic gold medals for Indian field hockey in 1928, 1932 and in 1936.

Known as “The Wizard” for his incredible ball control, Chand scored more than 400 goals in his international hockey career. When he was on the team, India dominated the international hockey scene. He played his last international match in 1948.

At the age of 16, Chand joined the Indian Army. He played army hockey between 1922 and 1926. He was selected for the Indian Army hockey team, and went on a tour to New Zealand where the team won 18, lost 1, and drew 2 of its matches. Chand retired from the army at the age of 51 in 1956. He held the rank of Major at the time of his retirement.