This dialogue might have captured the journey of every athlete. Today, as the world is witnessing India’s incredible performance at the biggest celebration of sports, Tokyo Olympic 2020, India awaits National Sports Day 2021.
Speaking of Bollywood and Tokyo Olympics 2021, I am sure, Shahrukh Khan’s dialogues from Chak De India would be ringing in your ears as our Indian Men’s Hockey Team and Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s continued to break records in Tokyo Olympics.
Their wins were like rain to end the medals drought. Speaking of hockey, National Sports Day 2021 is observed on August 29 to celebrate India’s legendary hockey player, legend Major Dhyan Chand.
What better gift can a hockey athlete from India give to a legend like him?
Men and women hockey teams’ incredible and historic performances breaking records of decades followed by a bronze medal at Olympics. Yes, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team has done it. They have garnered India its 5th medal at the games, giving India a new passion for the game.
Their performances are historic on many fronts which have led Indians to realise the value of the sports and its due attention and support.
Contrary to today, when cricket rules over the sports media, there were times when hockey was India’s most celebrated sport. Yes, it was the 1936 Olympics when Germany was under the rule of Hitler and India was fighting against them in the finals.
After one defeat against Germany, the Indian team was noticeably nervous, but we had the wizard, the man of hour Dhyan Chand. This special player scored 3 out of 8 goals which was the reason India won gold against the German team which could score only one goal.
This historic event led to an offer by Hitler to Dhyan Chand which included a job and citizenship of Germany.
It is indeed unbelievable.
A dictator who still horrifies people across the world till today was given this answer in front of the entire stadium during the prize distribution ceremony. Most of them feared that he would erupt with anger, but contrary to the same he was impressed and gave Dhyan the title of “Wizard of Hockey”.
Dhyan Chand stories of gold continued to spread across India. He and his brother Roop Singh were part of the regimental squad of the British Indian Army Jhansi Cantonment. The title “Dhyan Chand” were offered to the sportsman as he would continue to practice the game in the moonlight at night. Chand means moon in Hindi.
With 185 matches and 400 goals for India from 1926 to 1948, it was the year 1956 when the Indian government bestowed upon him the country’s third-highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan. On December 3, 1979, Dhyan Chand left this world.
Today, his birthday is observed as National Sports Day to raise awareness about the value of sports and daily activities in everyone’s life, emphasizing the importance of being fit and healthy. On this day, the President of India bestows important awards to prominent sports figures, including the Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards, Dronacharya Awards, and Dhyan Chand Awards.
Given the incredible performances of our National Hockey Teams, as India’s passion for the game was reborn, the Indian Prime Minister renamed Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
This is indeed a special gift to the ‘Hockey Wizard’ and ‘The Magician’, Major Dhyan Chand. The man was a part of the Indian hockey squad that won gold medals in three successive Olympics: 1928, 1932, and 1936 Summer Olympics.
He began his hockey career with the regimental squad of the British Indian Army. Because of his passion for the sport, he was given the title Dhyan Chand.
A glimpse into Khel Ratna Awards, it is the highest athletic honours which were founded in 1991–1992. Awarded for athletes’ “most excellent performance by a sportsperson” for the previous four years, it includes a medallion, a certificate, and a cash prize of Rs. 25 lakh.
Various other awards are named after politicians, while the 2020 Olympics has stirred up some changes, here are some other awards which athletes are facilitated with on National Sports Day:
Named after the former education minister of India, the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy was founded in 1956–1957 and is awarded to universities for “outstanding performance in inter-university tournaments” over the previous year.
Founded in 1961, these awards are named after a character from the Sanskrit Mahabharata’s character Arjuna who was believed to be a symbol of hard work, dedication, and concentration.
Arjuna award is awarded for “constant great performance” over the previous four years to athletes which is inclusive of a bronze statue of Arjuna, a certificate, ceremonial dress, and a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh.
Another character from the ancient scripture of India, Droncharya was known to be a great teacher and hence, the 1985 founded award is given to trainers who “create medal winners at prestigious international championships.” “A bronze statue of Dronacharya, a certificate, ceremonial robe, and a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh” are included in the award.
Along with these, Major Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games is awarded for lifetime achievement sporting has also been given to athletes since 2002. This includes a Dhyan Chand statue, a certificate, ceremonial robe, and a monetary prize of ten lakh rupees” are included in the award.
Offered to individuals, private and public organizations that “played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development” over the last three years, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar was founded in 2009.
Even though this is National Sports Day, we must not encourage the transmission of the coronavirus and its dangerous variants. Physical activities to promote a healthy lifestyle and healthy mindset can be an endeavour we can make.
And showing sportsmanship never hurts. Right?