Sachin Tendulkar becomes 1st sportsperson to get Bharat Ratna
Sachin Tendulkar ended his fairytale cricket reign in style at the Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Saturday and just a few hours later was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.
The 40-year-old icon, who called time on his glittering international career today, was chosen for the top award soon after his farewell Test against the West Indies ended in Mumbai.
A brief statement issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony said the President has awarded the Bharat Ratna to Tendulkar, who retired from the international cricket today.
Tendulkar bows out as the most successful batsman in international cricket with 15,921 runs in 200 Tests. In his ODI career, Tendulkar amassed 18,426 runs in 463 matches.
The Mumbaikar is the only batsman in international cricket to score 100 centuries. He was the first batsman to get a double hundred in one-dayers.
The award is a perfect send off gift to Tendulkar whose career spanned 24 years making him an inspiration for an entire generation of cricketers.
There have been continuous demands for him to be conferred the honour for a long time and the eligibility criteria of the award was revised last year to accommodate sportspersons as well.
Tendulkar, who became the first active sportsperson to become a Rajya Sabha member last year, is being given the honour along with Professor C.N.R. Rao, the man behind India’s maiden Mars mission.
The Bharat Ratna is being conferred after a gap of years with classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi being the last recipient.
C.N.R. Rao, is the head of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"He is an eminent scientist and a well recognised international authority on solid state and materials chemistry. He has published over 1,400 research papers and 45 books," the PMO said.
Rao's contributions have been recognised by major scientific academies around the world through conferment of memberships and fellowships.
He has been honoured with several national and international awards.
Earlier this year, Rao received China's top science award for his contribution to boosting India-China scientific cooperation.