"The Wizard of Indian Hockey"

Dhyan Chand

1905 - 1979

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Born in a Rajput family in Allahabad, this young Dyan grew up to rule the hockey field. Starting at a young age Dyan Singh used to wait up for the moon (Chand in Hindi) to come out and he would practice hard after his working hours in the moonlight (the natural flood lights then). And that's how this legend got his name as Dyan Chand, it is told.  It did not take much time for Dyan to play for the Indian army that toured New Zealand. His clever stick-work, penetrating runs and judicious passes were enough to assure him a position in the Indian team to take part in 1928 Amsterdam Olympics when field Hockey was reintroduced. With Dyan in the Indian team went to England to play 11 matches before the Olympics. It is said that England did not send a team to the Olympics as result of being beaten by the Indian team with Dyan doing his magic in all matches. And at big Games, India did not just win but won with huge margins against countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland with Dyan netting the maximum. It was the finals against the home team Netherlands, as it was destined that the young Dyan despite being not completely fit and other better players falling sick, made history by scoring 2 out of 3 goals to nil, winning the first ever Olympic gold medal for India. Scoring 14 goals in 5 matches Dyan Chand was the top scorer of the tournament.

It was magic on the field and the magician of hockey was our own Dyan Chand and Indian hockey was never the same after that. Dyan Chand continued to dazzle along with other 1928 Olympians such as Broome Eric Pinnigar, Leslie Hammond, Richard Allen and later with his brother Roop Singh. In 1932 Olympics India continued to exhibit its complete dominance on the field. India crushed the hosts US by 24-1 creating a world record and clinched the gold medal. Dyan along with his brother as the 'Hockey Twins' scored 25 out of 35 goals for India in the Games.

Dyan Chand represented India in many international games against countries around the world showcasing his incredible talent with the stick and ended up scoring over hundreds of goals. He stunned the Germans in 1936 Olympics final as he won the third Olympic gold medal for India in Hockey.  Dyan referred to as the magician of the game on the field with his wizardry in ball control and for his extraordinary goal-scoring abilities.

Having scored more than 400 goals during his international career, the Government of India awarded Dyan Chand the coveted civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956. His birthday is celebrated as National sports day in India. His astounding skills have been glorified in various apocryphal stories and anecdotes in the literary works on the game of Hockey.  He was awarded the 'Gem of India' the National Award in 2012. India's highest award for lifetime achievement in sports was named after this legend as Dyan Chand Award, which is given away annually. Stadiums in India and abroad were named after his name. 

A German newspaper during the 1936 Olympics, carried a banner headline to draw the crowds that said 'The Olympic complex now has a magic show too 'depicting Dyan Chand's game in the Hockey field. When one legend of the cricketing world Sir Don Bradman watched the Hockey legend Dyan Chand play, it is reported that the Don remarked Dyan scores goals like the runs in cricket. Another such interesting report was that of an incident in Netherlands that the authorities broke open his hockey stick to look for a magnet inside.  Such were his feat that contributed to game of Hockey and to the sporting spirit of a nation.

Dyan Chand will always remain a legendary figure not only in India but for the world when it comes to the game of Hockey.

This is a SoulPrints tribute to Dyan Chand.


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