Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a huge announcement lately as he has decided to rename the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award citing 'respecting' citizens' requests and sentiments.
Taking to the micro-blogging site, PM Modi wrote, 'I have been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. I thank them for their views. Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award! Jai Hind!'
Major Dhyan Chand was among India’s foremost sportspersons who brought honour and pride for India. It is fitting that our nation’s highest sporting honour will be named after him.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 6, 2021
In another tweet PM, Narendra Modi termed Major Dhyan Chand as one among India’s foremost sportspersons who brought honor and pride to India. Furthermore, PM Modi added that it is fitting that India's highest sporting honour will be named after him.
Major Dhyan Chand represented India in 1928, 1932, and 1936 Olympics, where all three times India won the gold medal. He was one of the world’s greatest hockey players, scoring 400 goals in international hockey. In a hockey career spanning 22 years, he surprised the whole world with his game. Notably, his birthday on August 29 is celebrated as the National Sports Day of India. On this day every year, the highest sports honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna, and Dronacharya awards are given for excellence in sports.
In fact. many eminent personalities, including former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay, had earlier urged the government to bestow the Bharat Ratna to the legendary Dhyan Chand as soon as possible.
Born on August 29, 1905, Dhyan Chand was not destined for such legendary stature in hockey, though, life had different vision for him. At the age of 16, he joined the British-Indian army (when India were under British rule), and that's where the sport gained prominence in his life.
After putting some sensational performances for the Army Hockey team, he stepped up the ladder to represent country on the international arena. After the sport was reintroduced in Olympics, Dhyan Chand made his mark in the very first edition. He spearheaded an Indian team which won its first ever Gold medal, scoring 14 goals at the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics.
He didn't stop there, and helped India retain their medal in the 1932 Olympics, scoring eight goals as India defeated USA 20-1 in the final. Dhyan Chand, along with his brother Roop Singh, scored 25 out of India's 35 goals in the tournament.
Till this point, Dhyan Chand was a great player. But after the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he became the greatest ever. 'The Wizard' had yet another amazing tournament and scored three goals in the final as India defeated Germany 8-1 on their own turf. Following such displays, his stature became invincible, so much so that reportedly, Adolf Hitler offered him a high level position in the German Army.