August 29, 2021: Like every year, National Sports Day 2021, too, in India will be celebrated on August 29, to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, who is regarded as nation’s greatest hockey player of all time.
Why National Sports Day 2021 is celebrated?
Emphasising on the need to stay fit and healthy, National Sports Day 2021 is observed to spread awareness on the importance of sports and daily activities in every individual’s life.
This day marks an age old ritual in which, the President of India honours eminent sports personalities with major awards including Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards, Dronacharya Awards and Dhyan Chand Award.
National Sports Day 2021 devoted to Major Dhyan Chand
National Sports Day 2021 is devoted to the birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand for a reason. Universally known as “The Wizard” for his magical touch, superb control, creativity and extraordinary goal-scoring feats, Chand made our Indian National hockey team soar greater heights under his talismanic leadership. The late hockey player had led India to three Olympic gold medals in the years – 1928, 1932 and 1936. He had scored over 400 goals in 22 years, spanning from 1926 to 1948.
Bestowed with India’s third-highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan in 1956, Chand is regarded as the greatest of all-time, Chand also served in the Indian Army and brought laurels to the country.
The noteworthy memorial for him is the Major Dhyan Chand Award, which is set as the highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and games in India.
National Sports Day significance:
Apart from raising awareness on the importance of sports, the special day of National Sports Day in India, also hails the achievements and contributions of Chand to India’s rich sports history and culture.
On National Sports Day 2021, the President confers National Sports Awards to honour sportsmen who have achieved laurels in the sports realm and enhanced country’s pride all over the world.
After the unfortunate demise of Chand in 1979, the Indian Postal Department issued stamps in his honour. As a tribute to him, the National Stadium of Delhi was also renamed to Major Dhyan Chand stadium. This date is also remarkable as the Indian government over the years has chosen to launch many schemes related to sports on this day including the Khelo India scheme in 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
13 iconic sports personalities of India
Dedicated and unrelenting athletes have been a matter of pride for the country globally. Such is the charm, that when a boy hits a straight six out of the park in the streets of India, we call him future Dhoni or when a girl smashes down an opponent on the badminton court, we term her as junior PV Sindhu! Our love and respect extends to them in enormous ways, as we often tend to associate ourselves with these athletes. Today, while the virtual world thrives and there is a greater chance of recognition, it has also fuelled the popularity of the athletes and made the big names, household. The most amazing trend under the influence of media has come to the forefront since 4-5 years, that there is the substantial rise of brand value of women in sports.
Without further ado, let’s take you on a passionate voyage of some of your favourite and the most popular Indian Athletes that have upheld the Indian flag in recent times:
The Indian heartthrob, terrific cricketer and captain of Indian cricket team in all 3 formats Virat Kohli is a nation’s son. The angry young man who rocks the stadium and never fails to astound even the legendary commentators with his dedication and utmost passion towards his game.
Counted among the youngest cricketers to achieve the feat, Kohli in approximately his 12- year- long international career, has already broken many records and dons in chasing targets. The brands that he endorses speaks volumes of his national as well as international fandom, brands lile American Tourister, Audi, Boost, Gillette, MRF, Manyavar, Puma etc. Alongside Cricket, he also owns a franchise named FC Goa in Indian Super League (ISL) houses a gand family of followers on social media!
2. Rohit Sharma
The most adored batsman on the Indian cricket team, Rohit Sharma has secured a sure footing in the opening line for the Indian cricket team in all 3 formats since 7 years. He is also the vice – captain of Indian team in ODI.
His fanbase includes a large number of supporters of IPL team Mumbai Indians as he is the captain of the team. Also, supporting his fame is the wide range of products and brands that he endorses.
3. MS Dhoni
‘Captain Cool’ is deemed as unparalleled by many big names in the world! Hi is one of a kind and undoubtedly the biggest sensation in modern Indian sports. He had successfully captained the Indian Cricket team for several years.
The team won the T-20 World cup(2007), ODI World cup(2011) and Champions Trophy (2017). Dhoni has almost all cricketing trophies under his belt as a captain and some smashing wicker taking records which has earned him the label of the lightening fast wicket keeper in many Indian and international households!
4. Neeraj Chopra
The golden boy of our country whose determination paid off this year in the grandest scale possible! Neeraj Chopra is an Indian javelin throw (track and field) athlete. He represented India at the 2018 Asian Games where he won a gold medal, setting the national record of 88.06 m, and at the 2018 Commonwealth Games where he also clinched the gold medal. With the ‘lath gaadh’ victory in the Olympics this year, he has become a role model for the sports achievers in the nation.
Setting dominant records at the tender age of 22, he has left behind many fans and charmed the Indian audience with his prowess and humility. He has been nominated for Arjuna Award 2020
5. Hima Das
Hima Das is an outstanding Indian sprinter. She holds the current Indian national record in 400 metres (with a timing of 50.79 seconds) that she clocked at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
She is also a recipient of Arjuna Award 2019. Stars began to align in her path when in 2018 she became the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships.
As far as her fame in brand endorsement goes, Hima associated with brands like Gatorade and Adidas.
6. PV Sindhu
When it comes to badminton, PV Sindhu has hit records right out of the park, becoming the top Indian female shuttler and presently ranked 6th in the world. She has also been ranked world no. 2 in April 2017.
She has brought many laurels to the country – Silver in 2016 Olympics, Gold in 2019 World Championship, Gold in 2018 Commonwealth Games. Sindhu enjoys endorsement deals with big brands like JBL, Bridgestone Tyres, sports drink Gatorade, pain reliever ointment Moov, online fashion store Myntra, e-commerce portal Flipkart. She rose to fame predominantly as a role model of excellence, especially driving many Indian girls closer to their dream of entering the field of badminton.
7. Harmanpreet Kaur
If we have listed a Rohit Sharma, well forging strongly ahead is his female counterpart in the Indian Women’s Cricket Team, Harmanpreet Kaur.
An amazing Indian cricketer, who plays as an all-rounder for the team. She has in her coffers the proud prize of Arjuna Award in 2017. Setting a record of being the first woman cricketer for India to score a century in a Women’s Twenty20 International match, she has made fans from all over the world. She also plays in the Big Bash league.
8. Sunil Chetri
Sunil Chetri is the captain of the Indian football team, and plays as a striker/winger for the team. Paralleling with some huge and established football personalities from across the globe, Sunil Chetri has put India on the map!
He has scored the second highest number of goals in international matches among active male players after Cristiano Ronaldo. He is both the most-capped player and all-time top goalscorer for the Indian national team, with 72 goals in 115 matches.
Already blessed with a strong fan base, Chetri’s popularity increased drastically when he urged Indians to come see matches so that the level of football in India can increase, thereby boosting new life into the craze for Football in India.
9. Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza is a name of eternal glory for the nation, having been the best Indian Women’s tennis player, a former world no. 1 in the Women’s doubles category.
She has swept to her side, 6 grand slam titles in her career and has established herself as one of the highest paid and high- profile athletes in the country. Also a social servant, Sania was announced as the UN Women Goodwill ambassador for South Asia. She was also announced as brand ambassador of Telangana in 2014.
10. Geeta Phogat
Can you ever forget the movie Dangal? Well here’s the inspiration behind its genesis! Renowned as the ‘Dangal girl’ (a film named Dangal was made on her family’s life), Geeta Phogat had won India’s first ever gold medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
A crowd favourite in the nation, she has achieved a lot of success and fame among people with her presence and performance in TV shows like Khatron Ke Khiladi.
Coming from the so called small state of Haryana, she is a national pride, who has never failed to lift the flag higher into the sky!
11. Manpreet Singh
Manpreet Singh has been the captain of Indian National Hockey team since 2017. He has been a part of the team that won Gold at Asian Games 2014 and Gold at Asia cup 2017.
He was a recipient of Arjuna Award in 2018 taking into consideration his exceptional services to the team.
These awards and honours elevate the players to the status of heroes for their folks in India and inspires the biggest population in the world to step into sports and mark their territory!
12. Dutee Chand
Dutee Chand is an Indian professional sprinter and current national champion in the women’s 100 metres event.
Chand has bagged the record of being the first Indian to win a gold medal in 100m race in a global competition. Dutee Chand clocked 23.30 sec to finish 5th in 200m at World University Games Earlier, Dutee had also won a gold medal in the 100m dash event Dutee had become the first Indian woman track and field athlete to clinch a gold medal at the World Universiade. She is the third Indian woman to ever qualify for the Women’s 100 metres event at the Summer Olympic Games.
Chand participated in the Jakarta Asian Games in the year 2018 and won silver making it India’s first medal in this event since 1998. In 2019, she became the first Indian sprinter to win gold at the Universiade, clocking 11.32 seconds in the 100 m race.
Dutee Chand broke her own 100 m national record, clocking 11.17 seconds at the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala, but missed the automatic Olympic qualification time by 0.02 seconds. Breaking records is a feat Dutee enjoys best!
Given her unending list of achievements, recently her association with affluent brands like Puma and Senco Gold has gained her a humongous fanbase.
13. Mirabai Chanu
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is an Indian professional weightlifter. She won the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Women’s 49 kg category. Mirabai Chanu has won the World Championships and multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games.
She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India for her contributions to the sport. She was awarded Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award by the Government of India in 2018.
Fetching some of the highest national sports awards, Mirabai has become a household name and we can’t be prouder. With her desire for eating Pizza going viral after her silver win going viral and Domino’s ensuring that she gets free pizza throughout the year, its pretty obvious how loved and adored she is in the country! Many brands have approached her in the recent past and her links with Amway India is certain.