The National Sports Day is celebrated on 29 August, on the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, who is regarded as nation's greatest hockey player of all time.
Popularly known as "The Wizard" for his magical touch, superb control, creativity, and extraordinary goal-scoring feats, Chand was instrumental in taking Indian hockey to greater heights under his extraordinary 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.
The noteworthy memorial for him is the Major Dhyan Chand Award, the highest award for lifetime achievement in sports and games in India.
On the occasion of National Sports Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Fit India Movement today at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex in New Delhi. During the launch event, PM Modi said healthy India is his goal. He also emphasised on the importance of fitness, especially in the times we live in and added that people must change their mindsets when it comes to physical fitness.
PM Modi had earlier in his 'Mann ki Baat’ address asked people to take part in the 'Fit India Movement' -- organised to celebrate the National Sports Day.
Fit India Movement is a nation-wide campaign that aims at encouraging people to include physical activity and sports in their everyday lives. The University Grants Commission has directed the universities across the country to prepare for the Fit India Movement. A 28-member committee comprising government officials, members of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), national sports federations, private bodies, and fitness promoters was also constituted to advise the government on the Fit India Movement. The committee under the chairmanship of sports minister Kiren Rijiju has 12 members from the government, including secretaries of Sports, Secondary Education, Ayush, Youth Affairs, among others.
On the launch of the programme, PM Modi launched a “Fitness Logo” along with a “Fitness Pledge” that reads, “I promise to myself that I will devote time for physical activity and sports every day and I will encourage my family members and neighbours to be physically fit and make India a fit nation,” the report added.
Fit India Movement is aimed at encouraging people to give priority to sports and fitness in their day-to-day lives.
On the National Sports Day, President Ram Nath Kovind confers the National Sports Awards, National Adventure Awards, Arjuna Award, Khel Ratna, Dronacharya Award and Dhyanchand Award to recognise the exceptional achievements of Indian sportspersons. This year's list of National Sports Award winners includes prominent names like Ravindra Jadeja, Deepa Malik, Bajrang Punia and many others.
The list of nominated sportspersons for the National Sports Awards 2019 is given below:
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: Deepa Malik (Para-athletics), Bajrang Punia (Wrestling)
- Arjuna Award: Ravindra Jadeja (Cricket), Mohammed Anas Yahiya (Athletics), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Football), Sonia Lather (Boxing), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Hockey), S Bhaskaran (Bodybuilding), Ajay Thakur (Kabaddi), Anjum Moudgil (Shooting), Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth (Badminton), Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (Athletics), Pramod Bhagat (Para sports-badminton), Harmeet Rajul Desai (Table tennis), Pooja Dhanda (Wrestling), Fouaad Mirza (Equestrian), Simran Singh Shergill (Polo), Poonam Yadav (Cricket), Swapna Burman (Athletics), Sundar Singh Gurjar (Para sports-athletics) and Gaurav Singh Gill (Motorsports).
- Dronacharya Award (Regular category): Mohinder Singh Dhillon (Athletics), Sandeep Gupta (Table tennis) and Vimal Kumar (Badminton).
- Dronacharya Award (Lifetime category): Sanjay Bhardwaj (Cricket), Rambir Singh Khokar (Kabaddi) and Mezban Patel (Hockey).
- Dhyan Chand Award: Manoj Kumar (Wrestling), C Lalremsanga (Archery), Arup Basak (Table tennis), Nitten Kirrtane (Tennis) and Manuel Fredricks (Hockey).