New Delhi: Donning the IAF uniform, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar was today the star attraction as he attended the Air Force Day functions in the capacity of honorary IAF Group Captain.
Sachin Tendulkar. Pic/PTI
41-year-old 'Bharat Ratna' Tendulkar, the first sportsperson to be given an honorary rank in the IAF, attended the Air Force Day parade in Hindon in Uttar Pradesh, outside Delhi, this morning and later was at the 'At Home' organised by Air Chief Arup Raha at his residence.
His wife Anjali accompanied him as he attended the morning function in IAF's sky-blue uniform and IAF's 'Dress No 8' summer ceremonial mess uniform in the evening which was attended by President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among others.
During the 'At Home', invitees jostled with each other to shake hands and get clicked with Sachin who obliged them and interacted freely with officers and their wives. While interacting with Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, Tendulkar told him that he was excited to see the World War vintage 'Tigermoth' aircraft, which was part of the IAF day parade in the morning.
Tendulkar chatted with Mukherjee, Modi and other dignitaries present on the occasion. His wife was engaged in a talk with Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur. The iconic batsman was conferred with the IAF honorary rank of Group Captain to honour his cricketing achievements in 2010 amid much fanfare but he was keeping away from its functions apparently due to his sports commitments.
He is the first personality with no aviation background to receive the honour. The rank was conferred on Tendulkar under the provision of granting honorary rank by armed forces to eminent personalities acknowledging their contribution towards the nation. Tendulkar retired from international cricket last year in November after playing 200 Test matches.