On the occasion of National Sports Day on 29th August, let's remember one of the greatest sporting heroes as the day marks the birthday of a player who was best in hockey at a time - Dhyan Chand.
The greatest hockey player India has ever produced, Dhyan Chand's fame transcended national boundaries. His ability to control the ball and move across the field with quick speed made him a nightmare for the opposition.
After his enrollment in the Army in 1922, he established his dominance at the international level during the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.
While playing with fever throughout the match, Dhyan Chand helped India secure its first-ever Olympic gold medal, after outplaying hosts, the Netherlands 3-0 in the final.
Here's a look at the five fascinating tales surrounding Dhyan Chand's illustrious career:
When Viennese were in love with Dhyan Chand:
Dhyan Chand's magical performances had attracted plaudits from all over the globe. And, in Austria, the Viennese were believed to be in love with the Indian star to such an extent that they erected his statue.
The statue was supposed to depict him with four hands, holding four sticks. To the Viennese, no ordinary man with two hands and a stick could have played so well.
But, the existence of this statue has never been verified.
When Dhyan Chand's hockey was broken to check if there was a magnet inside:
Dhyan Chand's ability to control the ball often had the crowd and even the opposition wondering if the ball was stuck to his hockey stick.
It is believed that his hockey stick was broken in half in Tokyo to check if there was a magnet inside. Officials in the Netherlands also supposedly had checked the stick to ensure it had no glue.
None of these claims have ever been verified, but it surely makes for an interesting read.
When Dhyan Chand scored goal with a 'walking stick':
In another intriguing story, a female spectator is said to have given her walking stick to Dhyan Chand during an ongoing match. To everyone's surprise, the hockey wizard managed to score a goal with it.
However, similar to the other incidents listed above, this event has never been verified.
When injured Dhyan Chand scored 3 goals 'bare foot':
At the Berlin Olympics in 1936, Dhyan Chand's injury didn't allow him to start for India in their final against Germany. But at the half-way stage, when India were leading 1-0, Dhyan Chand removed his shoes and entered the field bare foot.
It is believed that the legendary player smashed three goals past the German goalkeeper to help India secure an emphatic 8-1 win at the end.