Watch: Major Dhyan Chand shares how Europeans learned the art of dribbling from Indian players

Major Dhyan Chand was hockey’s first superstar and was considered the magician or magician of the game. He was the main protagonist as India won three consecutive Olympic ice hockey gold medals – Amsterdam 1928, Los Angeles 1932 and Berlin 1936. He is said to have wowed audiences with his great skill, complicated dribbling and voracious goal-scoring ability.

During these tournaments there was no team that could match India – and most games saw huge winning margins.

India defeated the Netherlands 3-0 in the 1928 final, the United States were beaten by an incredible 24-1 in the 1932 gold medal match, while Germany lost 8-1 in the 1936 decider.

Overall, Dhyan Chand played 12 Olympic games and scored 33 goals.

Rare video footage of Major Dhyan Chand’s interview with Prasar Bharti has surfaced, where the greatest hockey player recounts one of his trips to Berlin, Germany in 1963, where he saw European countries working hard to learn the art of dribbling Indian players.

“Europeans learned the art of dribbling from Indian hockey players. I remember Berlin 1963, the photographers from Germany and the Netherlands attended India’s trial session. They used to take the photos in slow motion, fast motion and later in the evening they would show them to their team,” says Dhyan Chand.

“They used to watch our players dribble. Where are her hands, legs, what is the position of the head? They’ve practiced it over the time they’ve mastered the art of dribbling,” he adds.

The modern game is a very different sport than that played in Dhyan Chand’s times. Europeans and Australians have become much more competent over the decades, while changing the surface has emphasized fitness, speed, endurance and physical strength.

Dhyan Chand’s birthday, August 29, is celebrated as National Sports Day when the President presents the Arjuna Awards and the other honors – including the one now named after Dhyan Chand himself.

An award for his life’s work in sport is already named after him. The capital’s national stadium was renamed Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is now named after Dhyan Chand.

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