The sports ministry had to name only one sportsperson for the Bharat Ratna to the Prime Minister's Office for the highest civilian award and for them three-time Olympic gold medallist Dhyan Chand, who passed away in 1979, was the right choice.
"We had to name just one sportsperson for the Bharat Ratna and it was Dhyan Chand. With all due respect to Tendulkar, Dhyan Chand is a legend in Indian sports. And it was logical to recommend Dhyan Chand for the Bharat Ratna since we have named every other trophy after him," Pradip Deb, secretary sports, told IANS.
Hockey India (HI), which had recommended Dhyan Chand's name earlier this year, was also elated.
"It is a proud moment for Indian hockey. We sincerely hope that he is given the award," Narinder Batra, secretary general of Hockey India (HI), told IANS.
Dhyan Chand, who won three gold medals at the Olympics - in 1928, 1932 and 1936, is widely considered as the greatest hockey player the world has ever seen.