Dhyan Chand’s name has been synonymous with Indian hockey. Such was his influence over the game that he scored almost of his own volition in every match he played, except for one. Consider this: he was unable to score a goal in a match following which he queried about the measurement of the goal post with the referee. Interestingly, it was later found that the goal post was not in accordance with the official minimum width prescribed under international rules.
There are a lot of extraordinary stories about India’s best hockey player and an attempt has been made to extract a few. Here are some interesting facts about Dhyan Chand:
- His impeccable stroke play impressed Hitler, so much so that he was offered German citizenship along with a rank in the German Army. The Wizard declined the offer.
- Dhyan Chand‘s original name was Dhyan Singh. At an age of just 16, he was recruited as a Sepoy by the British Army. It was at this time that he started practicing hockey during the night under the moon. His fellow counterparts gave him the nickname “Chand” which in Hindi means “Moon”.
- Cricket’s all-time great Don Bradman met Dhyan Chand at Adelaide in 1935. After witnessing his superb control over the ball and goal scoring abilities, “The Don” said, “He scores goals like runs in cricket.”
- He was a Major when he left the Indian Army in 1956.
- Dhyan Chand’s first love as a young boy was wrestling.
- He was so unbelievably good that Netherlands officials once broke his stick to check if there was a magnet underneath the wooden layer of the stick.
- He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956.
- It was under his wings that India earned three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936.
- India celebrates its National Sports Day on 29 August which is Dhyan Chand’s birthday.
- The 1932 Summer Olympics saw India defeating USA 24-1 and Japan 11-1. In a match-winning performance, Dhyan Chand scored 12 goals, while his brother Roop Singh netted 13 out of the 35 goals.