The National Sports Day is celebrated in India on August 29 each year. The day marks the birthday of Dhyan Chand Singh, who is considered as the greatest Hockey player in the history of the sport. He won gold medals for India in Olympics thrice – 1928, 1934 and 1936. The best tribute to him is the Major Dhyan Chand Award which is considered as the award for lifetime achievement in sports and games in India and the National Sports Day celebrated on his birthday. As we celebrate National Sports Day today, let us have a glimpse of the interesting facts that we all should know about sports legends who have bought glory to our country. Here we go:
Sachin Tendulkar fielded for Pakistan once
We all are aware of the fact that Sachin Tendulkar made his International debut against Pakistan in 1989 as a 16-year-old. But you will be surprised to know that the first time he played in an international arena was in 1987 in an exhibition match between India and Pakistan. The match was organised to mark the golden jubilee of the Cricket Club of India. Imran Khan’s team was short on fielders and hence Sachin was asked to field for Pakistan.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s family missed his Olympic moment due to cable blackout
Member of Parliament and former professional shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympic game. Unfortunately, his family in Delhi missed the magical moment due to a cable TV blackout. His wife got updates about the sport over the phone from a DD reporter.
Milkha Singh got the title ‘Flying Sikh’ by Pakistani PM
It was Ayub Khan, Former President of Pakistan, who gave Milkha Singh, Indian track and field athlete, the title of ‘Flying Sikh’ in 1960. Khan said, “Milkha, you came to Pakistan and did not run. You actually flew in Pakistan. Pakistan bestows upon you the title of the Flying Sikh.” Milkha, however, did not wish to participate in the event as it was held in Pakistan and it was the country his parents were killed. Eventually, he did participate and beat Pakistani sprinter Abdul Khaliq.
A scholarship of Rs 250 changed PT Usha’s life
In 1976, ‘The Queen of Indian Track and Field’ was awarded a scholarship of Rs 250 by the Kerala government. This scholarship helped her to study in a sports school in Kannur, Kerala and that was the turning point of her life. Her coach O.M. Nambiar noticed her talent and the rest is history.
Rahul Dravid is the first Indian to speak at Sir Donald Bradman’s oration
Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid is the first non-Australian to speak at Sir Donald Bradman’s oration in December 2011. He spoke on a range of matters from the responsibility of today’s sportsmen to the importance of sports in India to the impact of Donald Bradman.
Dhyan Chand refused Hitler’s offer
In 1936, after India defeated Germany in the Olympics final 8-1, Dhyan Chand was offered a senior post in the German Army by Hitler. He refused the offer.
Mary Kom’s family found about her passion only after she was featured in a newspaper
Belonging to a tribal community from Manipur and pursuing a career in boxing was a challenge for Mary Kom. She hid her passion for the sport from her family and was only in 2000 her family found out about it after she was featured in a local newspaper after winning the Manipur state boxing championship.
Mountaineer Bachendri Pal covered a distance of 2,155 km on a raft
We all know Mountaineer Bachendri Pal as the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest. But did you know she also crossed the Ganges river from Haridwar to Calcutta in 39 days with a team of 18 women in 3 rafts?
IM Vijayan scored one of the fastest international goals
Arjuna award winner I.M. Vijayan scored one of the fastest goals in the history of international football by hitting the net in 12 seconds against Bhutan in 1999 South Asian Football Federation Cup.
Abhinav Bindra’s had a career-threatening injury in 2006
After the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, shooter Abhinav Bindra had a spinal injury but without losing hopes he went through vigorous rehabilitation. Two years after the injury, in 2008, Bindra overcame the injury and won gold in the Beijing Olympics.