National Sports Day

Why is August 29 celebrated as National Sports Day?

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Today (August 29) is National Sports Day. Every year, India celebrates National Sports Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.

The day is also dedicated to India’s sports heroes and champions, honouring their contribution and dedication towards bringing laurels to the country. It was in 2012 that the day was observed as a tribute to Dhyan Chand for the first time.

India’s highest sporting honour – Khel Ratna is named after Dhyan Chand.

Also read: India’s Olympic feat a tribute to Dhyan Chand: Modi in ‘Mann Ki Baat’

Who was Dhyan Chand?

Dhyan Chand, known as ‘The Magician’, ‘The Wizard’, helped India win three consecutive Olympic medals in hockey – 1928 (Amsterdam), 1932 (Los Angeles) and 1936 (Berlin). He was the captain in Berlin. In his illustrious career, Dhyan Chand scored more than 1,000 goals. In 1956, he was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award.

On this day, the Indian government aims to raise awareness about the values of sports: discipline, perseverance, sportsman spirit, teamwork, and to encourage public in large to take up sports and make it an integral part of their lives while emphasising on the importance of being fit and healthy.

Dhyan Chand is regarded as the greatest field hockey player of all time. He was born on August 29, 1905.

Also read: Chak de, Kovilpatti: A Tamil Nadu town’s romance with hockey

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted sportspersons on National Sports Day. He has also paid tributes to Dhyan Chand on his birth anniversary.

In a tweet, Modi said, “Greetings on National Sports Day and tributes to Major Dhyan Chand Ji on his birth anniversary. The recent years have been great for sports. May this trend continue. May sports keep gaining popularity across India.”

‘Meet The Champion’

On the occasion of National Sports Day, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) is organising the ‘Meet The Champion’ initiative in 26 schools across the country.

Few of the prominent athletes that would be part of the initiative among others are, Commonwealth Games (CWG) and World Championships Gold Medallist Nikhat Zareen, Paralympics and CWG medallist Bhavina Patel, Tokyo Olympics and CWG medallist Manpreet Singh.

‘Meet the Champions’ is a unique school visit campaign that was kicked off by Olympic javelin throw gold medallist Neeraj Chopra in December last year and has reached various parts of the country over the past few months. During the school visit, the champion athlete shares their experiences, life lessons, and tips on how to eat right and also give an overall inspirational boost to school children.

With the special occasion of the National Sports Day and as a tribute to Dhyan Chand, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has now expanded the initiative to also include athletes who participated in the recently concluded Common Wealth Games (CWG) and World Championships.

SAI is also celebrating this year’s National Sports Day, as part of the FIT INDIA campaign, through pan-India sports events with the theme of Sports as an enabler for an inclusive and fit society. Sporting events are organised for different levels, including both professional as well as recreational events among people of various age groups, and of all walks of life.

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