National Sports Day: Celebrating a healthy way of life!

Today is sports day in India! Sounds weird huh? Many of you might be wondering what is a sports day? Isn’t it celebrated every year in the schools when kids have to compete against each other to win laurels? There are march pasts involving the most dreaded teacher shouting at the top of his lungs “Left-right-left”, others would compete in races to win laurels for their respective group houses.

However, there is a National Sports day in India. It is celebrated on the birth anniversary of one of India’s best hockey players- Dhyan Chand on 29th August 2017.

Who’s Dhyan Chand?

Move over Sachins’ and Kohli’s for a moment and let’s remember the 1936 Berlin Olympics when India defeated Germany 8-1. Dhyan Chand was 31 years old at that time, playing his last Olympics, was on a roll!  He was also the captain of the highly motivated Indian hockey team! Guess what, the Führer of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945, Adolf Hitler was among the spectators in the finals. He walked out in the middle of the match when India was on a rampage under Dhyan Chand’s able leadership and dexterity!

India's spectacular performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
India’s spectacular performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

As you can see, India scored 38 goals and conceded only 1 goal during the tournament. Interestingly, Dhyan Chand and his brother Roop Singh finished the Berlin Olympics with 11 goals in their tally!

It is widely reported that Adolf Hitler was so impressed with Dhyan Chand that he wished to meet him. I won’t spill the beans further, watch the video:

Let’s come back to the relevance of sports in today’s life. We can see there are a plethora of options today, be it gymming, playing outdoor sports, boxing, etc. People in the urban areas are taking up sports as a way of life! Why not? India is the 2nd most populated country in the world and has a high Global burden of diseases, like Diabetes. Many of such diseases emanate from the poor lifestyle and eating habits. Thus, sports play an important role in our lives. When I was young (that was long back!), my brother and I would wait for 5 o clock and we would rush off to the sports ground to play cricket or football. However, today I find that children and teenagers are glued to the Ipads and cell phones and the old way of playing sports is fast losing steam.

Children playing sports in the streets is a fun filled activity!
Children playing sports in the streets is a fun filled activity! This sports day, do you mind playing a game?

Remembering India’s Sporting Giants:

Let’s remember our current and past sporting giants across the entire sports spectrum! Be it Vijender Singh’s fatal punches or the flying sikh or the God of Cricket, India has produced sporting giants time and again!

I have tried to include as many as I could but please excuse me if I have missed out on any! I feel with the IPL, Superfight league, Pro Kabaddi league and similar tournaments for various sports, there is a healthy mixture of Indian and foreign sports persons coming on the same platform to showcase their prowess! It gives the Indian players a lot of exposure and a chance to upgrade their skills and gives the foreign players a taste of Indian dexterity and yes, a lot of hospitality!

Bed and Breakfast accommodations for Sportspersons:

Recently, BnBNation organized the stay of Bangalore-based Under 15 Football team in Delhi NCR for their 3-day football tournament.

Diwali the perfect time to be in India with a BnB host

Since Bed and Breakfast accommodations are just like home away from home, these kids loved staying in a homely environment along with their coach. This is what the head coach, Ryesh had to say about the arrangements:

Ryesh praises the arrangements made by BnBNation
Ryesh praises the arrangements made by BnBNation

Sharing my journey

I am not really a sports person but I am fond of playing outdoor sports like cricket (every Indian boy does), Badminton and occasionally football (once in a blue moon!). However, there are various exercise regimes that I have followed for 18 years.


For almost 10 years I practiced Yoga including Chakrasana, Sarvagasana, Dhanurasana, Anilom Vilom, Kapaal bhaati etc.

Benefits of Yoga: Sports day
Benefits of Yoga: Sports day

International Yoga Day 2017: Relevance and Benefits of Yoga


After Yoga, I tried my hand at various gyms but invariably I would be irregular after a few months and I would gain fat! So i thought of doing something different, something that stays on and betters my existing fitness levels.


Nowadays, urbanites have been looking at new forms of exercise. One of them is Boxing! I have been a prey too! Well, why not? Boxfit (81 Hemkunt colony near Nehru place) offers me a strict training regime and helps burn a lot of fat in just one hour of workout! I have lost a lot of weight and increased my flexibility and reflexes. Now, I can do more than 50 push ups 50 squats 50 burpees, thanks to Boxfit! In a week full of meetings and stressful environment, Boxfit gives me the much-needed relief. For me, just 4 days of workout in a week are enough to maintain my fitness level. Is that a lot to ask for? I doubt! Here’s a sneak preview of Boxfit:

Here is the current crop of Boxfit trainers (L to R): Rajneesh, Rahul, Sameer, Jason Solomon and Prasang (sitting in the front). There’s Limesh too but he’s missing!


I hope that this sports day, we should play some sports or take a walk in the park or do something that is different from the routine and takes us away from the monotonous lives we live. Maybe a weekend getaway with friends for a cricket match or football match or better still, join a new exercise regime!


45 thoughts on “National Sports Day: Celebrating a healthy way of life!”

  1. Such a great post Ambuj! I enjoy how you’ve highlight the lesser-known Indian sportsmen and women as well as the facts supporting Dhyan Chand. I think I’m going to give yoga another try after reading this post.

  2. I don’t think we have a national sports day in Australa, but what a great way for India to celebrate Dhyan Chand. Crazy that he was such an amazing player that even Hitler wanted a meeting! I like that in the relevance of today this day encourages people to get active and get outside – I feel as though we’re so consumed by our devices and media today that we need to get back to sport!

  3. What a great initiative, providing Bnb to sports people so they feel homely. Really thanks for sharing so much information on Dhyan Chand and letting us know about him . Great post

  4. This was such an interesting post. I loved learning more about India and their sporting culture (although being a Kiwi/Aussie, I already knew how big the cricket culture was in India!). Also something random I noticed, you said birth anniversary and not birthday. Is that normal for your culture? I enjoy learning random facts like that!

  5. I’ve thought many times of regularly practicing yoga but until now I haven’t managed to keep a daily routine for this, especially when I am traveling. Do you have any advice on how we could keep doing sport while traveling longterm?

  6. I had no idea there was a Sports Day in India but I love the idea. Funny, in the US we associate India with yoga and cricket, never hockey or boxing! But, Dhyan Chand — what a man!

  7. I think a lot more countries can actually take from this. Being from England for us sports day was just done in School, and although we are a very passionate sports nations unless you are a professional the majority of us just like to watch once we get into adult life. Very inspirational post 😀

  8. I am so glad to hear that Dhyan Chand turned down Hitler, he was brave and clearly a very accomplished sportsman. There is another fascinating Indian sportsman, Prince Ranji, who was very skilled at cricket and spent a lot of time in West Ireland

  9. Didn’t know about the holiday but it’s definitely a good one to celebrate and practice. I’m not too interested in sports, but I do have to say I enjoy extreme sports a little more, like snowboarding. 🙂

  10. So funny that Hitler walked out middle of the match, such a great achievement just that. I love watching sports, but I am not so good at knowing names of the best ones from different countries, unless they do something remarkable. Love the idea of sports day. In Norway, we just have a day for “going on a trip outside”. Yoga is my favourite 😀

  11. I had no idea there was a National Sports Day in India! Very cool! I’m afraid I’m more for watching sports than playing them, but I’m certainly up for a Yoga trip. And, I haven’t seen a proper cricket match in person, so it’s clearly time that I do that! Thanks for sharing!

  12. I didn’t know there was a National Sports Day in India. In Japanese schools, we had sports day at school where all the classes competed against each other for 3 days. It was always so much fun not having to study for 3 days and just play sports! I never heard about the Hitler and Dhyan Chand story and thought that was so interesting!

  13. Great post! Very educational and inspiring. I did not know a lot about the history of Indians specifically in hockey! I like the many activities you included, especially yoga! On to a healthy lifestyle!

  14. I agree that kids these days just want to play on their phones and iPads. I think a National Sports Day is a great way to promote sport and fitness and try to get the kids off the couch!

  15. Wow! This post is very informative and inspiring! Great to know about the conversation between Adolf Hitler and Dhyan Chand, and the details of Dhyan Chand’s life. Your post has inspired me to enrol for a fitness course. Gym has never worked for me as I aways end up being irregular. I think I should try Yoga. Seems like a great idea. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  16. I didn’t know about this Indian holiday. It was so fascinating to read about. I’m also not a huge sports person when it comes to actually playing sports. I love being a spectator, it’s just something about the energy of sporting events. I also love doing yoga. Sadly, I haven’t really practiced in a couple years, but I hope to pick back up.

  17. Thanks for teaching me about the sports day and introducing some important sportspersons from India! It is a great reminder to stay fit in our everyday life.

  18. You have a national sports day? How very interesting. I don’t think we have one here, or if we do it is not widely celebrated because I sure as hell ain’t aware of it. It’s interesting to hear about Dhyan and that because of him, you have this event. My country likes basketball a lot, but I really wouldn’t describe Filipinos as athletic. You sure got amazing athletes there, I could understand why having a sports day makes sense.

  19. India always has such great events they do as a nation, love the idea of a national Sports day. Hopefully when I come to India I can take part, I love football and Badminton so maybe I ca do a local sports day where I will be based. I really enjoyed reading about this. Yoga is also something I would like to do more of.

  20. Major Dhyanchand is the Dronacharya of Indian sport. When I was growing up, all that we knew about Indian sport were two things- hockey and Dhyanchand. And what a name- Dhyanchand. Dhyan means concentration and the Major indeed was a model of concentration.

  21. I love the idea of a National Sports day. I remember when I was in India everyone was playing playing cricket. It was fabulous to stop being a tourist for a while and watch with the locals.

  22. Great t celebrate a heathy lifestyle and promoting sports. A national sports day is awesome. Trying yoga is definetely on my to do list. There are so many bnefits.

  23. I’d love to be active in at least one. I know it is vety helpful in many ways. I like the discipline it gives that is why I’d love to introduce it to my kids. 🙂

  24. It is so true that too many people live such an unhealthy lifestyle being preoccupied with their phones and other IT devices. Having a National Sports Day is a great idea to encourage people to get outdoors into a healthier atmosphere and rediscover the pleasures of sports and get exercise at the same time. Great post.

  25. This is an inspirational post! I love how you have covered the topic. Growing up Dhyan Chand was one of my favorite sportsman. Thanks for sharing. 👍🏼

  26. A great post Ambuj. I feel sad about the state of various sports and sports persons in India. So many talents go unknown, undiscovered and really struggle to remain in the sport. We all should spread the awareness about these people, their achievements and the sport in general so we all can together support them better.

  27. I think Sport days are great! and a national sports day even better! It’s very inspiring for children and promotion of healthy lifestyle much needed around the world! great post!

Your thoughts...