Once, while playing a hockey game, Major Dhyan Chand was not able to score a goal against the opposition team. After several misses, he argued with the match referee regarding the measurement of the goal post, and amazingly, it was found to not be in conformation with the official width of a goal post under international rules.
After India played its first match in the 1936 Olympics, Dhyan Chand’s magical stickwork drew crowds from other venues to the hockey field. A German newspaper carried a banner headline: ‘The Olympic complex now has a magic show too.’ The next day, there were posters all over Berlin: Visit the hockey stadium to watch the Indian magician Dhyan Chand in action.
Legend has it that the Fuhrer was so impressed by Dhyan Chand’s wizardry with the stick that he offered the Indian a chance to move to Germany and the post of Colonel in his army, which the Indian is said to have declined with a smile.
During a match with Germany in the 1936 Olympics, Dhyan Chand lost a tooth in a collision with the particularly aggressive Germany goalkeeperTito Warnholtz. Returning to the field after medical attention, Dhyan Chand reportedly told the players to “teach a lesson” to the Germans by not scoring. The Indians repeatedly took the ball to the German circle only to backpedal.
Cricket world’s legendDon Bradmanand Hockey’s greatest player Dhyan Chand once came face to face atAdelaidein 1935, when the Indian hockey team was in Australia. After watching Dhyan Chand in action,Don Bradmanremarked “He scores goals like runs in cricket”
Residents ofVienna,Austria, honoured him by setting up astatueof him with four hands and four sticks, depicting his control and mastery over the ball.This however has turned out to be an exaggeration, with no such statue and its presence being documented anywhere.
A tube station has been named after him inLondon, along with 358 other past and present Olympic heroes, in the run-up to the Games, starting on 27 July 2012. The Transport for London has brought out a special ‘Olympic Legends Map’, detailing all 361 tube stations. Only six stops have been named after hockey players, with the three Indians – Dhyan Chand, Roop Singh and Leslie Claudius – cornering the majority.
In the Netherlands, the authorities broke his hockey stick to check if there was a magnet inside.