Kota (Rajasthan): The kin and admirers of the hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand today once again said that the legendary player must be the first sportsperson to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, the country`s highest civilian honour.
Though they are not against Sachin Tendulkar getting the award as well, but demanded that Dhyan Chand, who had led India to victory in hockey in the 1928 Holland Olympics, in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1936 Germany Olympics, must be given the honour before the iconic cricketer.
Brij Mohan Singh, eldest son of Dhyan Chand and a retired district sports officer from Bundi who presently stays in Kota, claimed that his father first deserved the prestigious award.
"The award should first be given to Major Dhyan Chand posthumously," he said.
Recalling his father`s love and dedication for the motherland, Brij Mohan said, "My father even refused to accept the royal offerings made by the German dictator Adolf Hitler."
Hitler was so impressed by Dhyan Chand`s performance in the 1936 Berlin Olympics final that he offered to elevate `Lance Naik` Dhyan to the rank of a Colonel if he migrated to Germany. But Dhyan Chand refused.
On awarding Tendulkar the Bharat Ratna, Brij Mohan admitted that the champion batsman deserved it and had every right to get it but added his father did a miraculous job for hockey in adverse times under British rule when facilities were limited.
However, he welcomed the suggestion that the Bharat Ratna be awarded jointly to Dhyan Chand and Tendulkar.
"One is the legend of past and the other is of the present. Joint award would certainly make both cricket and hockey fans happy," he said.
Vishal Singh, the grandson of Dhyan Chand and a contractual hockey coach in Baran district, also appealed to the government to confer the prestigious award to his grandfather first in view of his remarkable achievements.
Bundi District Sports Officer, Surendra Singh and Y B Singh, volleyball coach also joined in the chorus.
"Hockey is our national game. And its icons and their contributions to the national sports should not be ignored," they said.
However, all these sports lovers welcomed the government`s decision to award Bharat Ratna to sportspersons as well.