National Sports Day is celebrated in India on August 29 every year. The event is observed to commemorate the birth anniversary of legendary Field Hockey Player Major Dhyan Chand Singh.
Major Dhyan Chand was a hockey wizard born in 1905 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. In the pre-World War-II era, he rose as India’s hockey star with his pivotal role in helping team India complete its first hat-trick of Olympic gold medal with wins at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Summer Olympics.
Dhyan Chand’s career in hockey started with the regimental team of British Indian Army. His career flourished from 1926 to 1948 during which he rose through the ranks. He retired as a Major in the Indian Army in 1956. Later that year he was conferred the Padma Bhushan.
He died on December 3, 1979.
To honour and celebrate Major Dhyan Chand and his contributions in the history of Indian sports, the nation celebrates his birth anniversary as National Sports Day.
National Sports Day was first included in the list of celebratory days in India in the year 2012. Every year, on this day, several states including Haryana, Punjab and Karnataka organize various sports events and seminars with the objective to spread awareness on the importance of physical activities such as sports in lives of people. The government of India has been using this day as a platform to launch various sports schemes like the Khelo Indian movement that was announced in 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Moreover, on National Sports Day, the nation honours its sporting heroes with recognitions like the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award and the Dronacharya Award at a special ceremony hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.