Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905 at Allahabad. His father was in the British Indian army and spent most of his early life at Jhansi. At the age of 16,Dhyan Chand joined the British Indian army and got himself introduced to serious hockey. In 1926, he was selected for the Indian hockey team forNew Zealand tour. Thereafter, Dhyan Chand played an epic role in India winning hockey gold medals in the three successive Olympics in theyears 1928, 1932 and 1936.
Popularly known as hockey's magician, Dhyan Chand started playing hockey only after joining the armyat the age of 16. This proved to be a turning point of his carrier. Dhyan Chand rose in the hockey field like a meteor after this. His exciting stick-work encouraged the army officers to allow him to concentrate only on the game. Dhyan Chand made an immediate impact on the national hockey scene while taking part in the inter-provincial hockey championship.
From the very outset itself, Dhyan Chand displayed a lot of promise and the days were not far away when he would join the ranks of Indian hockey. In the year 1934, Dhyan Chand was appointed the captain of the Indian hockey. Soon, Dhyan Chand became a folklore. Such was the charisma of the legend that people thought he had some magic in his hockey sticks.
By his superior play, Dhyan Chand was revered in high esteem within India as well as outside. He rose in international hockey like a meteor and kept shining like the sun. Dhyan Chand helped India to win gold medal in hockey in three successive Olympics games- Amsterdam Olympics in 1928, Los Angeles Olympics in 1932 and Berlin Olympics in 1936. He was the captain of Indian Hockey team in the historic 1936 Berlin Olympics when India won the gold medal. At the Berlin Olympics, Hitler was so impressed with his performance in the field that he offered to make him a colonel in the German army if he agreed to play for the German team.
Dhyan Chand's name soon became synonymous with hockey. So great was the standard of the legend that one cannot find any lean patches in his career. Dhyan Chand scored 101 goals in total at the Olympic Games and scored another 300 goals in other international matches. He led the hockey team to the East Africa tour in 1947. In this tour, Dhyan Chand scored 61 goals in 21 matches that the Indian team played. Throughout his carrier, Dhyan Chand scored more than 1000 goals.
Such was the amazement in the sports world on his talent that they installed a statue of Dhyan Chand with four arms and four sticks in a Vienna sports club. Dhyan Chand was so charismatic in the field that many people doubted if his hockey stick was made of something else other than wood. It is quite surprising to know what all people did to his hockey sticks. In Holland, Dhyan Chand's hockey stick was broken to find if there was a magnet inside. In Japan, they thought that it was glue. Adolf Hitler even offered to buy it.
After the illustrious carrier spanning 30 years, Dhyan Chand left international hockey in 1949. He retired as a Major in the army and as the Chief Hockey Coach of National Institute of Sports. For his extraordinary achievements, the Government of India awarded him Padma Bhushan in the year 1956. The hockey legend passed away on 3 Dec 1979. As a tribute to Dhyan Chand's contributions, his birthday, Aug 29, is observed as the national sports day.