Major Dhyan ‘Chand’ Singh (Hindi: ????? ‘???’ ????; August 29, 1905 – December 3, 1979), better known as Dhyan Chand (Hindi: ????? ???) was an Indian hockey player, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time . A legendary center-forward, he is remembered for his goal-scoring feats, first as a player and later as captain. Chand won 3 Olympic gold medals (1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles, 1936 Berlin) and was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, in 1956. He was the elder brother of equally famous fellow player Roop Singh.
He got the title ‘???’ or Chand (literally Moon) from his first coach, Pankaj Gupta, who had predicted that he would one day shine like one. Even today, Chand remains a figure of veneration, and a number of legends about him are famous in the realm of Indian sport.
Even today, Dhyan Chand remains a legendary figure in Indian and world hockey. His astounding skills have been glorified in various apocryphal stories and anecdotes. A number such legends revolve around the fact that Singh had a magical control over dribbling the ball. Many say that the German Olympic officials broke his hockey stick to search for a magnet inside, and tried to console themselves saying he had added some sort of glue.
The Indian Postal Service released a postage stamp in his honour on December 3, 1980, exactly a year after he died. The Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, named in his honor, also has a dominating statue of Chand at its entrance. Another statue was erected at Medak, Andhra Pradesh in 2005.
August 29, Chand’s birthday, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. The President gives away sport-related awards such as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award on this day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
India’s highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is the Dhyan Chand Award which has been awarded annually from 2002 to sporting figures who not only contribute through their performance but also contribute to the sport after their retirement.