Major Dhyan Chand, India’s greatest hockey player, was born on August 29, 1905, is regarded as one of the best players to have ever played the sport. On Dhyan Chand’s birthday, India also observes the ‘National Sports Day’.
There was a time when India dominated the international hockey circuit and it was the ‘Wizard’ Dhyan Chand who helped India Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936.
It is also believed that after India defeated Germany in the final of the 1936 Olympics, Adolf Hitler offered the post of Field Martial in the German Army to Dhyan Chand.
This is how their conversation went by:
Hitler (while casting a glance at the sub-standard canvas shoes of Dhyan Chand): “what else do you do, when not playing hockey?”
Dhyan Chand: “I am in the Indian Army.”
Hitler: “What is your rank?”
Dhyan Chand: “I am Lance Nayak.”
Hitler: ”Come over to Germany. I will make you a Field Marshal.”
(Dhyan Chand couldn’t understand what happened in a fleeting second. he was confused if this was a command or a request).
Dhyan Chand: “India is my country and I am fine there.”
Hitler: “As you like it.”
On the wizard’s birth 115th birth anniversary which is regarded as the National Sports Day, let’s take a look at the some of the other all-time greatest players India has produced:
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar a.k.a the master blaster a.k.a The GOD had become a household name since his debut in the world of cricket. “Sachin ne kitne banaye?” (How much did Sachin score?) had remain one common question everyone use ask after every match for over two decades.
From debut at the age of 16 to scoring a double century on ODI to scoring 100 international centuries, Sachin’s life has been nothing less than an inspiring story which inspired cricketers not only in India but abroad.
Milkha Singh, A.K.A Flying Sikh has been hailed for his achievements in Indian track-and-field athletics who became the first Indian to win an athletics gold in the history of the Games.
At the 1958 Asian Games, Singh won both the 200-metre and 400-metre races. Later that year he captured the 400-metre gold at the Commonwealth Games, which was India’s first athletics gold in the history of the Games. He narrowly lost the bronze medal in the 400 metres at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games, missing out on third place in a photo finish. Singh retained his 400-metre gold at the 1962 Asian Games and also took another gold as part of India’s 4 × 400-metre relay team. He made a final Olympic appearance at the 1964 Tokyo Games as part of the national 4 × 400 team that failed to advance past preliminary heats.
The captain of the Indian women’s cricket team who took women’s cricket to new heights in India.
She is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to get more than 6,000 runs in one-day internationals. Raj led the Indian team to finals in the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup in England.
Dipa Karmakar first gained attention when she won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow becoming the first Indian female gymnast to do so in the history of the Games. She also won a bronze medal at the Asian Gymnastics Championships.
Karmakar represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympics, becoming the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics.
Karmakar is one of the only five women who has successfully landed the Produnova, which is regarded as the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics.
Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha often called the “queen of Indian track and field”. She has represented India at track and field events since 1980 when she made her Olympic debut.
Vishy is not only India’s greatest chess player but he is regarded o to be one of the best in the world. At the of 20, when most of us are struggling to figure out life, he became India’s first chess grandmaster. In an intensely fought battle, the five-time World Champion lost his crown to Norwegian chess prodigy, Magnus Carlsen, in 2013. Anand is the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour in India.