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Dhyan Chand

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Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905 in Allahabad. He was born to mother Sharadha Singh and father Sameshwar Singh. His father was in the British Indian Army, and he played hockey in the army. Dhyan Chand had two brothers – Mool Singh and Roop Singh. Because of his father's numerous army transfers, the family had to move to different cities and as such Chand had to terminate his education after only six years of schooling. The family finally settled in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Being in the military, his father got a small piece of land for a house. He loved to wrestle as a youngster though he was not much inclined towards other sports.




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He joined the Indian Army when he was just 16. He started playing hockey seriously during his army stint, often practicing late in the night after duty hours. He was a good player and from 1922 started playing in army hockey tournaments. Due to his skills he was selected to play in the Indian Army Team which was to tour New Zealand in 1926. His team won 18 matches out of 21 in the tournament and Dhyan Chand was greatly appreciated for his performances. He was promoted to Lance Naik upon his return to India. Field hockey was reintroduced in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) wanted to send its best team for the event. Dhyan Chand with his great performance in the inaugural nationals secured a place in the team.

The Indian team went to Amsterdam and beat the Dutch, German and Belgian teams in the pre-Olympic matches by huge margins. Chand scored three goals in India's debut Olympic match against Austria, winning 6-0. India also won the matches against Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland on their way to the finals. In the final match held on 26 May 1928, India faced the home team of Netherlands. Some of the India's top players were on the sick list and India’s chances looked bleak. However, the team still managed to beat Netherlands 3-0 and India won her first Olympic gold medal. Dhyan Chand emerged as the hero of the 1928 Olympics by scoring 14 goals in five matches.

For the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, Dhyan Chand was automatically selected to the Indian hockey team while the rest of the team mates had to play in the Inter-Provincial tournament to earn their placs. His brother Roop Singh also secured a place in the team. India's first match in the 1932 Olympics was against Japan which it won 11-1. It proved to be a good omen as India went on to wins many other matches before triumphing in the finals to clinch the gold once again.

After the Olympics the team went on an international tour covering United States, England and several other countries. By the end of the tour, India had won 34 matches out of 37 with Chand scoring 133 of the 338 goals scored by India. He was made the captain of the Indian hockey team in 1934 and he led the team to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. There too he worked his magic and team win the gold medal - India’s third successive gold in field hockey. He continued playing hockey till the late 1940s and retired from army as a Major in 1956. He became a coach after his retirement.


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Personal Life

He married with Janki Devi in 1936 and had seven sons with her.



The last days of Dhyan Chand were not very happy, as he was short of money and was badly ignored by the nation. He developed liver cancer, and was sent to a general ward at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He died on the 3rd of December 1979.



1956:- Padma Bhushan by the Government of India


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