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National Sports Day 2023 – August 29

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National Sports Day - August 29 2023The National Sports Day, also known as Rashtriya Khel Divas, is annually celebrated across India on 29th August to mark the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand, the legendary Indian field hockey player, who is regarded as the greatest field hockey player in history.

  • He was popularly known as “The Wizard” or “The Magician of hockey” for his skill in ball control.  He was born on 29th August 1905 in Allahabad, British India (Present day Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh).

29th August 2023 marks the celebration of the 12th National Sports Day(Rashtriya Khel Divas).


  • The day aims to create awareness on the significance of sports towards a healthy life and honour and recognise the sportspersons of India.
  • The day also offers a platform to sporting legends who brought glory to India on the International stage.


The government of India(GoI) declared that 29th August of every year will be observed as National Sports Day, starting from 2012, to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand.

  • The first National Sports Day was celebrated on August 29, 2012.

About Major Dhyan Chand:


Dhyan Chand exclusively played army hockey tournaments and regimental games between 1922 and 1926 and later he was selected to play for the Indian Army team which toured New Zealand in 1926.

He played a major role in India’s 3 Olympic gold medals, in 1928(Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1932(Los Angeles, California, the United States of America-USA) and 1936(Berlin, Germany).

  • In 1934, He was made the captain of the Indian hockey team and subsequently captained the gold-winning team at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

From 1926 to 1949 he played internationally and scored around 570 goals in 185 matches.

Books: He published his autobiography titled “Goal” (Sport & Pastime, Madras) in 1952.

Awards: The government of India honoured him with Padma Bhushan(for Sports), India’s third highest civilian honour, in 1956.


In 2021, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi announced the renaming of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour,  as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. 

In 2002, Dhyan Chand Award For Lifetime Achievement In Sports And Games was instituted to honour those sportspersons who have contributed to sports.

  • The award is given only to the disciplines included in the events like Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championship and World Cup along with Cricket, Indigenous Games, and Parasports.

In 1980, GoI issued a commemorative postage stamp and a First Day Cover in honour of Dhyan Chand. He remains the only Indian hockey player to have a stamp in his honour.