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Major DhyanChand

Major DhyanChand
MAJOR DHYAN CHAND
  • Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905 in Allahabad. He was the elder brother of another hockey player Roop Singh. His parents are 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.

Dhyanchand got education from Victoria College, Gwalior in 1932. Being in the military, his father got a small piece of land for a house.

FIRST LOVE – HOCKEY
  • Chand joined the Indian Army at the age of 16. Between 1922 and 1926, Chand exclusively played army hockey tournaments and regimental games. Chand was ultimately selected for the Indian Army team which was to tour New Zealand.
  • The team won 18 matches, drew 2 and lost only 1, receiving praise from all spectators. Following this, in the two Test matches against the New Zealand squad, the team won the first and narrowly lost the second. Returning to India, Chand was immediately promoted to Lance Naik.
  • After successfully lobbying for reintroducing field hockey in the Olympics, the newly formed Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) made preparations to send its best possible team for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. In 1925, an Inter-Provincial Tournament was held to select India’s national field hockey team.
  • Five teams participated in the inaugural nationals – United Provinces (UP), Punjab, Bengal, Rajputana and Central Provinces. Chand got permission from the Army to play for the United Provinces team.
  • The team left for England on 10 March, to play 11 matches against local sides as well in the London Folkestone Festival in 1927, winning all. Finally, on 24 April, the team arrived in Amsterdam to embark on a tour of the Low Countries. In all the pre-Olympic matches against local Dutch, German and Belgian teams, the Indian team won by large margins.
  • In the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics, the Indian team was put in the division A table, with Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland . On 17 May the Indian national hockey team made its Olympic debut against Austria, winning 6-0, with Chand scoring 3 goals. The next day India defeated Belgium 9-0; however Chand only scored once. On 20 May, Denmark lost to India 5-0, with Chand netting 3. Two days later, he scored 4 goals when India defeated Switzerland 6-0 in the semi-finals.
 MAGICIAN
  • The final match took place on 26 May, with India facing the home team of the Netherlands, India managed to defeat the hosts 3-0 (with Singh scoring 2), and the Indian team won its country’s first Olympic gold medal.
  • “ This is not a game of hockey, but magic.

Dhyan Chand is in fact the magician of hockey. ” On returning to India, the team was received by thousands of people at the Bombay harbour, compared to the three people who had seen them off.

  • The Inter-Provincial Tournament was being held to select the new Olympic team; the IHF wrote to the Army Sports Control Board to grant Singh leaves to participate in the nationals. His platoon refused. Chand received news that he had been selected by the IHF for the Olympic team without any formalities.
  • The Olympic team then played practice matches in India before heading for Colombo. In two matches in Ceylon, the Olympic team beat the All Ceylon XI 20-0 and 10-0. Wrote one newspaper on the first match.
  • The India team set sail for San Francisco on 30 May, and arrived on 6 July. They reached Los Angeles three weeks before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which took place on 30 July.
  • On 4 August 1932, India played its first match against Japan and won 11-1. In the final on 11 August, India played against hosts USA. India won 24-1, a world record at that time (until it was broken in 2003), and once again clinched the gold medal. Chand scored 8 times, Roop Singh 10.
  • At the end of the tour, India had played 37 matches, winning 34, drawing 2, with one abandoned. Chand scored 133 of the 338 Indian goals.
GERMAN OLYMPICS(1936)
  • In Kolkata, the Heroes also won the Lakshmibilas Cup tournament, which was open only to Indian teams. In 1935, they successfully defended their Beighton Cup title, though lost the subsequent year.
  • They arrived on 10 July, and after an uncomfortable journey in third-class compartments, reached Berlin on 13 July. On 17 July, the Indian team played a practice match against Germany and lost 4-1. As such, manager Pankaj Gupta informed the IHF that Ali Dara had to be sent immediately to replace the out of form Mirza Masood.
  • On 5 August, India won its first match against Hungary 4-0. India won the rest of the group matches against USA (7-0, with Chand scoring 2 goals) and Japan (9-0, with Chand scoring 4). On 10 August, Ali Dara arrived. Their fourth match was the semi-final against France, whom they defeated 10-0, with Chand scoring 4 goals.
  • India and Germany were to clash in the 1936 Berlin Olympics field hockey final on 19 August.
  • On the morning of the final, the entire team was nervous since they had been defeated the last time they had faced Germany. In the locker room, Pankaj Gupta produced a Congress tricolour.
  • Reverently the team saluted it, prayed and marched onto the field. The German team was successful in restricting the India side to a single goal until the first interval.
  • After the interval, the Indian team launched an all-out attack, easily defeating Germany 8-1, incidentally the only goal scored against India in that Olympic tournament. Chand topscored with 3 goals, Dara scored 2 and Roop Singh, Tapsell and Jaffar one each.
  • After returning from Berlin, Chand joined his regiment. Between 1936 and the commencement of the War in 1939, he largely confined himself to army hockey, with one visit to Kolkata to take part in the Beighton Cup tournament in 1937.
  • When the war ended in 1945, Chand decided that the Indian hockey team needed new young players. In 1947, the IHF was requested by the Asian Sports Association (ASA) of East Africa to send a team to play a series of matches..
  • The team assembled in Bombay on 23 November 1947, and reached Mombasa on 15 December and played 9 matches in British East Africa winning all. Chand, though now in his forties, still managed to score 61 goals in 22 matches.
  • After returning from the East African tour in early 1948, Chand decided to gradually phase out his involvement in ‘serious hockey
 FINAL YEARS
    • Chand retired from the army in 1956 aged 51, with the rank of Major. The Government of India honoured him the same year by conferring him the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour.
    • After retirement, he taught at coaching camps at Mount Abu, Rajasthan. Later, he accepted the position of Chief Hockey Coach at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, a post he held for several years. Chand spent his last days in his hometown of Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
    • Chand died on 3 December 1979 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. He was cremated at the Jhansi Heroes ground in his hometown, after some initial problems in getting clearance. His regiment, the Punjab Regiment, accorded him full military honours .