Why was Dhyan Chand called the magician of hockey: The history of Field Hockey in India is long and diverse. In what is considered India’s national sport by many, the nation has produced some of its greatest players. From the hat-trick of Olympic Golds won by Balbir Singh in the middle of the 20th century to the sublime skill of Dhanraj Pillay in the 1990s, to modern greats in PR Shreejesh and Manpreet Singh; some of the all-time great practitioners of the game come from the Asian powerhouse.
But none of these names are more synonymous with the golden age of Indian Hockey than the game’s first global superstar in what was then British India, the late-great Major Dhyan Chand.
The status of the man in the sport is equivalent to Pele’s in football, or Sir Son Bradman’s in Cricket. An almost mythical being from right around the first global spread of the sport. He is the answer to the trivia question – “Which Indian hockey player is called the magician of hockey?” Today, we will discuss his life, and stories surrounding his magnanimous career.
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Why was Dhyan Chand called the magician of hockey: Life, Career, and Accolades
Major Dhyan Chand, Who is known as the magician of hockey in India, is Born on August 29, 1905, in Allahabad (now Prayagraj), Uttar Pradesh, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the British Indian Army when he came of age. The sport he enjoyed the most before enlisting was actually wrestling.
Once in the army, as part of the 1st Brahmans regiment, he played in army hockey tournaments from 1922 to 1926. After the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was formed in 1927, Dhyan Chand was picked as the team’s center-forward ahead of the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
After scoring 13 goals in five matches en route to a Gold medal, Dhyan Chand was now Indian Hockey’s biggest star. He was also a crucial part of British India’s Gold medals in the next two Olympic Games as well, with his even captaining the side in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
While his Olympic escapades were over after this, as the next two editions were canceled due to World War 2, he kept the game alive all over the world with tours to the colonies that were involved in the war. He retired from the sport in 1948.
The man called ‘The Magician’ of Hockey is a Padma Bhushan recipient. India’s biggest sports honour is one of best Dhyan Chand achievements, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is named after him.
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‘The Magician of Hockey’ and A Magnetic Stick
Why was Dhyan Chand called the magician of hockey? Let us find out
We set a scene. It was the final of the Hockey tournament in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. First-time participant British India is taking on the home team The Netherlands. On this day of probable glory, some of India’s biggest stars in Feroz Khan, Ali Shaukat, and Kher Singh were out ill.
It is now upon the young Dhyan Chand, who himself was very ill, to drag his team to a gold medal. With his body running at high temperatures, the then 22-year-old bagged two goals in front of 20000 Dutch fans to lead his team to a 3-0 win.
After the match, a local newspaper described Dhyan Chand’s spectacular performance in the tournament as thus –
“This is not a game of hockey, but magic. Dhyan Chand is in fact the magician of hockey.”
There are stories of his opponents believing that Dhyan Chand possessed an actual magic stick. Legend has it that after the 1928 Olympic final against The Netherlands
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The day Dhyan Chand lost his teeth and met Adolf Hitler
It is no secret that the 1936 Olympics were a showcase of the Third Reich as the center of the world. While the story of a Black American track athlete Jesse Owens winning four gold medals is widely told as a slap to Adolf Hitler’s racist and anti-Semitic beliefs,
Another blow to his pro-German agenda was the Hockey Final in the same tournament.
the Indian squad rammed through the tournament to reach the final for a third consecutive time, time against the hosts.
Dhyan Chand collided with the German keeper and lost a few teeth in the first half. When he was taken off the field, his team went a goal down. But the second half brought with it a storm that blew the Germans away. The Magician scored six goals en route to his team’s 8-1 win and another Olympic Gold.
Later in his life, Dhyan Chand recollected his meeting with Adolf Hitler after the game. The Fuhrer asked him his name and rank in the British Indian Army.
After hearing Dhyan Chand was “just “ a Corporal, Hitler offered him to join the German team for a better post in the Riech’s army. But the Hockey star was satisfied with his lower post while representing his people on a global stage.
Why was Dhyan Chand called the magician of hockey: Epilogue
Dhyan Chand passed away in 1979. After over 40 years of his passing, he is still one of the most well-known hockey players in the world. His 570 goals in 185 appearances for his national team are over 200 more than the second-highest goalscorer on that list. His enormous shadow will always be cast over the “national sport of India.” His career achievements and his immaculate gameplay answer the question, “Why was Dhyan Chand called the magician of hockey?”
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