National Sports Day
The National Sports Day in India is celebrated on 29 August, on the birth anniversary of hockey player Major Dhyan Chand. This day marks the birthday of Major Dhyan Chand Singh, the hockey player who won gold medals in Olympics for India in the years 1928, 1932 and 1936. He scored 570 goals in his career, from 1926 to 1949 (according to his autobiography, ‘Goals’).
After putting his stamp on international hockey arena, and having served his country to reach its pinnacles of glory multiple times. He was a legendary figure in the Indian and world hockey. The most noted memorials for him were the Major Dhyan Chand Award, the highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and games in India, and the National Sports Day celebrations on his birthday. Major Dhyan chand learnt the game of hockey from his coach Pankaj Gupta. There is no one who has reached his level in hockey. The birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand is on 29 August 1905.
Who is Dhyan Chand?
In a country that has reveres sporting superstars like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Balbir Singh Sr. among others, hockey player Major Dhyan Chand has reserved a special place for himself.
Born in Allahabad (Prayagraj) in Uttar Pradesh on August 29, 1905, as Dhyan Singh, he rose to prominence in the pre-independence period.
Star of the Indian hockey team that dominated the sport in the years before World War II, Dhyan Singh played an important role in helping India complete their first hat-trick of Olympic gold medals with wins at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Summer Olympics.
Starting his hockey career with the regimental team of the British Indian Army, a young Dhyan Singh was a special talent. But what made him stand out was his dedication to his craft.
With most of the day spent in regimental duties, Dhyan Singh would practice his hockey in the night under the moonlight, a reason that earned him the name Dhyan Chand (Chand means moon in Hindi).
National Sports Awards
The highest sporting honour, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna (renamed from Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna), is reserved for the outstanding performer, usually handed out to the Olympic medallist in an Olympic year, and the Arjuna Award recognises the achievements of the athletes in the seasons gone by.
Awarded by the central government, the National Sports Awards is a recognition of an athlete’s contribution to their discipline and the awards are conferred on National Sports Day.
When was National Sports Day first celebrated in India?
National Sports Day was included in the list of celebratory days in India for the first time in 2012.
Which is the highest sporting award in India?
The Khel Ratna Award officially known as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award ( Major Dhyan Chand Sport Jewel Award), formerly known as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games,is the highest sporting honour of India. It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
The recipient(s) is/are selected by a committee constituted by the Ministry and is honoured for their “spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years” at international level. As of 2020, the award comprises a medallion, a certificate, and a cash prize of ₹25 lakh (US$31,000).