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Dhyan Chand

Dhyan Chand closeup.jpg
Birth name Dhyan Singh
Nickname(s) The Wizard
Born (1905-08-29)29 August 1905
Allahabad, United Provinces, British India
Died 3 December 1979(1979-12-03) (aged 74)
Delhi, India
Allegiance  India
Service/branch  British Indian Army
 India Army
Years of service 1921–1956
Rank Major of the Indian Army.svgMajor
Unit Punjab Regiment
Dhyan Chand
Sport Field hockey
Position Centre Forward

Dhyan Chand (29 August 1905 – 3 December 1979) was an Indian field hockey player. He is known as one of the greatest field hockey players of all time. His skill is compared to footballer Pelé.

His birthday, 29th August, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India every year. He received the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India in 1956.

Chand earned three Olympic gold medals in field hockey. These were at the 1928, 1932, and 1936 games.

Early life

Dhyan Singh was born on 29 August 1905 in Allahabad. His father was in the British Indian Army, and he played hockey in the army. The family moved often because of army transfers. The family finally settled in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Chand joined the Indian Army at the age of 16. The Hindi word Chand literally means "the moon". Dhyan was given the nickname Chand because he would wait until the moon was out so he could practice hockey.

International competitions

Chand's first international competition was with the Indian Army in New Zealand. The army later gave Chand permission to compete for a place on the Indian Olympic team for Field Hockey.

During the 1928 Olympics, Chand was the top scorer of the tournament, scoring 14 goals in 5 matches. A newspaper report about India's triumph said, “This is not a game of hockey, but magic. Dhyan Chand is in fact the magician of hockey.”

Chand was selected for the 1932 Olympic team without a tryout. The team once again won the gold medal. In the final on 11 August, India played against hosts USA. India won 24-1, a world record at the time.

Chand was again selected without tryout for the 1936 Olympic team. India defeated Germany 8-1 in the final for the gold medal. Chand scored 3 goals.


The Dhyan Chand Award is an award in India for lifetime achievement in sports. The National Stadium, Delhi was renamed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002 in his honour.


Chand's younger brother, Roop Singh, played on the Indian Field Hockey team in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. His son, Ashok Kumar, won an Olympic bronze medal in 1972 for Field Hockey.

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