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FIH president lauds Dhyan Chand's legacy

Chennai: Ms. Els van Breda Vriesman, president, International Hockey Federation, has described Dhyan Chand as "a magnificent ambassador" and observed that " he left a legacy that shaped the way hockey is played."

In a special message to The Hindu to commemorate the birth centenary of Dhyan Chand on Monday, the FIH President, says: "On the centenary anniversary of Dhyan Chand's birth, it's my great pleasure to convey international hockey's gratitude for his enormous contribution to our great sport.

"International hockey is fortunate to have been blessed with a such a magnificent ambassador. Apart from his outstanding achievements on the hockey field, it is the way he inspired those around him that is perhaps Dhyan's greatest legacy.

"As FIH president and member of the International Hockey Federation I am appreciative of Dhyan's influence and high esteem in which he is held within the hockey community around the world.

A pioneer

"As a member of his country's first hockey squad to tour outside its homeland and as a member of its first Olympic gold medal-winning team, Dhyan Chand was a hockey pioneer.

"His mastery and grace on the hockey field was an inspiration to all and his influence is still an ever-present force. He left a legacy that shaped the way hockey is played.

"Dhyan's mastery was in full effect shortly after the re-entry of hockey into the Olympic Games. After being left out of the 1924 Olympic Games due to its lack of an international federation, hockey was re-admitted into the Olympic family for the Games in 1928.

"Fortunately for hockey lovers, this coincided with the Olympic debut of Dhyan Chand. His place in hockey and Olympic history was sealed over the next eight years, and by the time World War II interrupted his international career, Dhyan had helped his country to claim three Olympic gold medals.

"For that reason alone, I am grateful that my predecessors at the International Hockey Federation worked so diligently to ensure that hockey returned to the Olympic arena and allow players such as Dhyan Chand to show their skills on the world's greatest sporting stage."

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