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National Sports Day: Everything You Need to Know About Sports Day in India

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29th August is celebrated as the National Sports Day in India. Unfortunately, it is not the most celebrated day in a country which is still learning to look beyond Cricket in the field of sports. But why do we celebrate this special occasion? Let’s get to know more about National Sports Day and take a glimpse at India’s achievements on this special day…

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Why 29th August?

National Sports Day
National Sports Day | Credits Hindustan Times

That should be the first question – Why 29th August, of all days, is celebrated as the National Sports Day? Well, it is the birth anniversary of India’s one of the most celebrated sportsperson and arguably the best hockey player – Major Dhyan Chand.

Dhyan Chand, known as ‘The Wizard’ due to his exceptional ball control, was born on 29th August 1905 in Allahabad. The centre-forward played a pivotal role in India’s first three consecutive Olympic gold medals in hockey – 1928, 1932 and 1936. In fact, the legend goes that after India thrashed Germany 8-1 in the final of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Adolf Hitler was so impressed with Dhyan Chand’s performances that he offered him to join the Nazi Germany army. Of course, the Wizard denied it.

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The legendary hockey player scored 570 goals in 185 matches in his illustrious career of 23 years. The Government of India honoured Dhyan Chand’s achievements by declaring 29th August as the National Sports Day in 2012 – And rightly so!

National Sports Day Celebration 

A momentous celebration in India that commemorates the birth anniversary of the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand. This day serves as a tribute to the indomitable spirit of athletes and their contributions to the nation. The significance of sports in fostering a healthy lifestyle and promoting national unity is highlighted on this occasion. Various sports events, competitions, seminars, and workshops are organized across the country to encourage active participation in sports and physical activities. The day also serves as a reminder of the importance of sports in instilling discipline, teamwork, and dedication among individuals, echoing the values upheld by Major Dhyan Chand himself.


National Sports Day
National Sports Day | Credits India Today

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award, and Major Dhyan Chand Award are the sports-related awards given by the Government of India. And what better day than National Sports Day to felicitate the winners of this award? The President of India presents this award to the winners in a special ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 29th August every year.

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Winners for 2020

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

It is the highest award in the field of sports in India. The award was introduced in 1991-1992 and Chess legend, Viswanathan Anand was its first recipient. Deepa Malik will become the first female para-athlete to receive the prestigious Khel Ratna Award. Here are the winners for 2020:

Sr. No. Athlete Sport
1. Rohit Sharma Cricket
2. Mariyappan Thangavelu Para Athletics
3. Manika Batra Table Tennis
4. Vinesh Phogat Wrestling
5. Rani Rampal Hockey

Arjuna Award

Awarded for outstanding achievements in sports, the award was started in 1961. It is the second-highest award in the field of sports in India.

Sr. No. Player Sport
1. Atanu Das Archery
2. Dutee Chand Athletics
3. Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy Badminton
4. Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty Badminton
5. Vishesh Bhriguvanshi Basketball
6. Manish Kaushik Boxing
7. Lovlina Borgohain Boxing
8. Ishant Sharma Cricket
9. Deepti Sharma Cricket
10. Sawant Ajay Anant Equestrian
11. Sandesh Jhingan Football
12. Aditi Ashok Golf
13. Akashdeep Singh Hockey
14. Deepika Hockey
15. Deepak Kabaddi
16. Kale Sarika Sudhakar Kho Kho
17. Dattu Baban Bhokanal Rowing
18. Manu Bhaker Shooting
19. Saurabh Chaudhary Shooting
20. Madhurika Suhas Patkar Table Tennis
21. Divij Sharan Tennis
22. Shiva Keshavan Winter Sports
23. Divya Kakran Wrestling
24. Rahul Aware Wrestling
25. Suyash Narayan Jadhav Para-Swimming
26. Sandeep Para Athletics
27. Manish Narwal Para Shooting

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Dronacharya Award

Awarded to coaches who have done an exceptional job in the past few years, Dronacharya Award was started in 1985. It is divided into two categories – regular and lifetime achievements.

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Life Time Category: 

Sr. No. Coach Sport
1. Dharmendra Tiwary Archery
2. Purushotham Rai Athletics
3. Shiv Singh Boxing
4. Romesh Pathania Hockey
5. Krishan Kumar Hooda Kabaddi
6. Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar Para Powerlifting
7. Naresh Kumar Tennis
8. Om Parkash Dahiya Wrestling

Regular Category

Sr. No. Name of the Coach Sport
1. Jude Felix Sebastian Hockey
2. Yogesh Malviya Mallakhamb
3. Jaspal Rana Shooting
4. Kuldeep Kumar Handoo Wushu
5. Gaurav Khanna Para Badminton

Dhyan Chand Award

Dhyan Chand Award is given for lifetime achievements in sports, and it was introduced in 2002.

Sr. No. Athlete Sport
1. Kuldip Singh Bhullar Athletics
2. Jincy Philips Athletics
3. Pradeep Shrikrishna Gandhe Badminton
4. Trupti Murgunde Badminton
5. N. Usha Boxing
6. Lakha Singh Boxing
7. Sukhvinder Singh Sandhu Football
8. Ajit Singh Hockey
9. Manpreet Singh Kabaddi
10. J. Ranjith Kumar Para Athletics
11. Satyaprakash Tiwari Para-Badminton
12. Manjeet Singh Rowing
13. Shri Sachin Nag Swimming
14. Nandan P Bal Tennis
15. Netarpal Hooda Wrestling

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Indian Sports Honours 2023 Winners

Category Winner
Sportsman of the Year Neeraj Chopra(Track&Field)
Sportswomen of the Year Mirabai Chanu(Weight Lifting)
Sportsman of the Year(Team) PR Sreejesh(Hockey)
Sportswoman of the Year(Team) Renuka Singh Thakur(Cricket)
Team of the Year India U19 Women’s Team(Cricket)
Coach of the Year Vijay Sharma(Weightlifting)
Emerging Sportsman of the Year Lakshya Sen (Badminton)
Emerging Sportswoman of the Year Antim Panghal(Wrestling)
Differently Abled Sportsman of the Year Pramod Bhagat(Badminton)
Differently Abled Sportswoman of the Year Avani Lekhara(Air rifle shooting)
Lifetime Achievement Honour Prakash Padukone(Badminton)
Fan Clun of the Year Whistlepodu Army(Cricket)
Club of the Year Jaipur Pink Panthers(Kabaddi)
Incredible Young Performer Of The Year In T20 League Shubman Gill (Cricket)
Incredible Performance Of The Year In T20 League Yuzvendra Chahal(Cricket)
Comeback Of The Year Neeraj Chopra(Track&Field)
Electrifying Performance Of The Year Shubman Gill(Cricket)

The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports

The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports looks after the sports in India. In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term, Kiren Rijiju is the current minister of Sports. The Government has undertaken several initiatives for the development of sports in the country. The Indian government has also provided jobs to several athletes to help them financially.

Amongst some of the important schemes, Target Olympic Podium Scheme was introduced in 2015 with an eye on increasing the number of medallists at the upcoming Olympics. The Government of India launched the Khelo India Youth Games in 2018. In these games, athletes from various parts of the city are provided with a platform to showcase their talent. The Games are conducted for U17, and U21 category and best 1000 students are given the sports scholarship of ₹5,00,000 per year for eight years in order to prepare them for the international stage.

India’s Achievements at the International Level

India is a country of 1.3 billion people, which is almost 17% of the world population. We are second in the list of highest population and yet we are nowhere near the powerhouse in sports. Something is definitely not clicking, is it?

But that is a topic of discussion for some other time. On the occasion of National Sports Day, let us take a look at India’s achievements in sports in the past.


Credits India Today

India has won a total of 28 medals at the Olympics in 34 appearances – Less than a medal at each event.

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Name Games Sport Event Medal
Norman Pritchard 1900 Athletics Men’s 200m Silver
Norman Pritchard 1900 Athletics Men’s 200m Hurdles Silver
Indian Hockey Team 1928 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Gold
Indian Hockey Team 1932 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Gold
Indian Hockey Team 1936 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Gold
Indian Hockey Team 1948 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Gold
Indian Hockey Team 1952 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Gold
Khashaba Jadhav 1952 Wrestling Men’s Freestyle Bantamweight Bronze
Indian Hockey Team 1956 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Gold
Indian Hockey Team 1960 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Silver
Indian Hockey Team 1964 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Gold
Indian Hockey Team 1968 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Bronze
Indian Hockey Team 1972 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Bronze
Indian Hockey Team 1980 Field Hockey Men’s Competition Gold
Leander Paes
1996 Tennis Men’s Singles Bronze
Karnam Malleswari 2000 Weightlifting Women’s 69 kg Bronze
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore 2004 Shooting Men’s Double Trap Silver
Abhinav Bindra 2008 Shooting Men’s 10m Air Rifle Gold
Vijender Singh 2008 Boxing Middleweight Bronze
Sushil Kumar 2008 Wrestling Men’s Freestyle 66 kg Bronze
Vijay Kumar 2012 Shooting Men’s 25 Rapid Fire Pistol Silver
Sushil Kumar 2012 Wrestling Men’s Freestyle 66 kg Silver
Saina Nehwal 2012 Badminton Women’s Singles Bronze
Mary Kom 2012 Boxing Women’s Flyweight Bronze
Gagan Narang 2012 Shooting Men’s 10m Air Rifle Bronze
Yogeshwar Dutt 2012 Wrestling Men’s Freestyle 60 kg Bronze
PV Sindhu 2016 Badminton Women’s Singles Silver
Sakshi Malik 2016 Wrestling Women’s Freestyle 58 kg Bronze

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Name Games Sport Event Medal
Murlikant Petkar 1972 Swimming Men’s 50m Freestyle 3 Gold
Bhimrao Kesarkar 1984 Athletics Men’s Javelin L6 Silver
Joginder Singh Bedi 1984 Athletics Men’s Shot Put L6 Silver
Joginder Singh Bedi 1984 Athletics Men’s Javelin L6 Bronze
Joginder Singh Bedi 1984 Athletics Men’s Discus Throw L6 Bronze
Devendra Jhajharia 2004 Athletics Men’s Javelin F44/46 Gold
Rajinder Singh Rahelu 2004 Powerlifting Men’s 56 kg Bronze
Girisha Nagarajegowda 2012 Athletics Men’s High Jump F42 Silver
Mariyappan Thangavelu 2016 Athletics Men’s High Jump F42 Gold
Devendra Jhajharia 2016 Athletics Men’s Javelin F46 Gold
Deepa Malik 2016 Athletics Women’s Shot Put F53 Silver
Varun Singh Bhati 2016 Athletics Men’s High Jump F42 Bronze

Team World Championships

Credits Hindustan Times

Apart from the Olympics, where India has performed exceptionally below average, the nation has managed to bring home a number of World Championships.

Cricket, the most famous sport in India, has been the heart and soul of the country for years. India’s first World Cup triumph in Cricket came in 1983 as Kapil Dev led the nation to one of the impossible victories. The country had to wait another 28 years for the second World Cup. MS Dhoni-led Indian team won the 2011 World Cup and became the first team to win the Cricket WC on the home soil.

Apart from two World Cup in ODI, India has also won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and Champions Trophy in 2002 and 2013. India has won the U19 World Cup on four occasions, most by any country.

India has also won the Hockey World Cup once, in 1975 where they defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 in the final. And when it comes to Kabaddi, India is the best team and have won all three World Cups played so far.


National Sports Day of India: Everything You Need to Know | KreedOn
Credits Chess Base India

Viswanathan Anand is, without a doubt, the best Indian Chess player. The 49-year old dominated the world of Chess for more than a decade and put India on the map. Due to his World Championship titles and fame which followed, Chess became one of the most popular sports in India.

Anand is a six-time World Champion and two times Rapid Chess Champion. He was the undisputed champion for six years, from 2007 to 2013. The legendary Vishy is considered as one of the greatest rapid players of all time.

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National Sports Day of India: Everything You Need to Know | KreedOn
Credits India Today

Apart from Leander Paes’s bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics, India has done well in Grand Slams thanks to the veteran, his partners Mahesh Bhupati, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna. Vijay Amritraj put India on the map in Tennis in the 1970s, but the Chennai-born failed to win any Grand Slam titles.

India’s first Grand Slam title came at the 1997 French Open as Mahesh Bhupati paired with Japan’s Rika Hiraki to win the mixed doubles final.

India’s Record at Grand Slams so far

Event Australian Open French Open Wimbledon US Open Total
Men’s Doubles 1 3 1 4 9
Women’s Doubles 1 1 1 3
Mixed Doubles 5 3 6 4 18


Player Grand Slam Titles
Leander Paes 18 (8 Men’s Dobles and 10 Mixed Doubles)
Mahesh Bhupati 12(4 Men’s Doubles and 8 Mixed Doubles)
Sania Mirza 6 (3 Women’s Doubles and 3 Mixed Doubles)
Rohan Bopanna 1 (Mixed Doubles)


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Franchise-based League

Pro Kabaddi League 2019 KreedOn | National Sports Day of India: Everything You Need to Know

Introduction of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was well and truly the revolutionary moment for sports in India. IPL helped Cricket in India, which was already in an excellent condition but it gave an idea to other games to start the similar franchise-based leagues.

And it has worked out great for a number of sports which have started leagues based on similar themes. Kabaddi has been the biggest beneficiary of this format, as Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), now in its seventh season is the second most popular league behind IPL.

Indian Super League was introduced in 2013 for the growth football in the country. And so far, the league has done well to increase the popularity of the game. On similar themes, Premier Badminton League, UBA Pro Basketball League, Pro Wrestling League, Ultimate Table Tennis, Pro Volleyball League are some of the newly launched leagues.

With a number of leagues introduced, players have found a platform to showcase their talent while also getting rewarded for their performances. With the leagues been broadcasted on TV and a host of brand endorsing it, the money has also started flowing in the pockets of players, and they are getting the recognition they deserve.

What’s Next?

It’s not like anyone is trying to replace Cricket from the top. Cricket is the most famous sport in India, and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. But with the introduction of new leagues and Government’s various schemes, people are starting to realise that there is, in fact, more to sports than just cricket. With success stories of athletes like Hima Das, PV Sindhu and many more, the young generation is starting to aspire to become the next PV Sindhu instead of just next Tendulkar or Dhoni. Parents are ready to send their kids to any sports coaching they want – And all this is a big step in the right direction!

We might not have a great population to Olympic medals ratio at the moment, but with time, we will be there. We might not have participated in any of the FIFA World Cups so far, but with the efforts that are being put to improve the Blue Tigers, it is only a matter of time before we hear ‘Jana Gana Mana’ against, say, Spain or Brazil.

So let us celebrate this National Sports Day wishing our star athletes all the luck in the world for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. Because trust me, they will make us proud by the time the next National Sports Day arrives!

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What is National Sports Day in India?

National Sports Day in India is an annual celebration observed on August 29th to honor the birth anniversary of the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand and to promote the importance of sports and physical activities.

How is National Sports Day celebrated?

National Sports Day is celebrated with various sports events, competitions, seminars, and workshops conducted across the country. These activities aim to encourage people to participate in sports and recognize the role of sports in promoting a healthy lifestyle.

What is the purpose of National Sports Day?

The primary purpose of National Sports Day is to raise awareness about the importance of sports and physical activities in maintaining good health, fostering teamwork, and instilling discipline among individuals.

Is National Sports Day only for athletes?

National Sports Day is for everyone. While it pays tribute to athletes and their achievements, it also emphasizes the significance of sports and physical activities for people of all ages and backgrounds.

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Chinmay Pagar
Chinmay Pagar
I might be a Mechanical Engineer on the paper, but I was a Sports enthusiast since childhood, screaming at the TV watching cricket at the age of 4. Not much excites me other than sports unless it's free pizza. I can watch literally anything remotely related to sports; Cricket, Football, Tennis, F1, Hockey, Athletics, Chess, you name it! And I love to write too, so at the time I'm not watching sports, I'm writing about it. Or eating pizzas, of course.


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