London: A newly-laid Astro-turf hockey pitch, at a cost of £250,000, at the Indian Gymkhana Club in London has been named after Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand.
Major Dhyan `Chand` Singh, better known as Dhyan Chand, was an Indian field hockey player, widely regarded as the world`s greatest field hockey player of all time.
A legendary centre-forward, he is remembered for his goal-scoring feats, first as a player and later as captain.
Chand won three Olympic gold medals (1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles, 1936 Berlin) and was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India`s third highest civilian honour, in 1956.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the new pitch, Prof Nat Puri, President of the Gymkhana Club said, "The pitch is another step in the direction to provide better sporting facilities at the club."
Lord Gulam Noon, Vice President of the Indian Gymkhana Club said the Gymkhana needed to build 20 studio rooms to facilitate visiting players to stay at the Club.
He sought the assistance of Councillor Jagdish Sharma to get necessary approval from the Council for the project.
Dhyan Chand was the elder brother of fellow player Roop Singh. His father Sameshwar Dutt Singh was in the Indian army, and he played hockey in the army.
Chand joined the Indian Army at the age of 16, in 1922. It was in informal matches in the regiment that Subedar-Major Bale Tiwari noticed his dribbling skills.
A keen enthusiast of the game, Tiwari recognised Chand`s talent. He became his mentor and laid the foundations of his technique.
Ajit Singh Sidhu, a compatriot of Dhyan Chand described Dhyan Chand as one of the greatest hockey players of the world.
Swatantra Soni, Secretary of the Gymkhana club said the Club had raised £250,000 from members and supporters under a 10-year repayment guarantee scheme. He said every visiting team that came from Australia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka used to play a match at the club but in the last 10 years it has changed.
Councillor Jagdish Sharma said Indian community here could feel "very proud of the Club".