Sachin Tendulkar honoured with Best Sporting Moment Award in Laureus World Sports Awards
Batting great Sachin Tendulkar being carried on the shoulders of his team-mates after India’s World Cup triumph at home in 2011 was voted the Laureus best sporting moment in the last 20 years.
With the backing of Indian cricket fans, Tendulkar got the maximum number of votes to emerge winner on Monday.
Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh handed the trophy to Tendulkar after tennis legend Boris Becker announced the winner at a glittering ceremony.
“It’s incredible. The feeling of winning the World Cup was beyond what words can express. How many times you get an event happening where there are no mixed opinions. Very rarely the entire country celebrates,” Tendulkar said after receiving the trophy.
“And this is a reminder of how powerful a sport is and what magic it does to our lives. Even now when I watch that, it has stayed with me.”
Tendulkar, competing in his sixth and last World Cup, finally realised his long-cherished dream when skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smacked Sri Lankan pacer Nuwan Kulasekara out of the park for a winning six.
The charged-up Indian cricketers rushed to the ground at the Wankhede Stadium and lifted Tendulkar on their shoulders for a lap of honour, a moment etched in the minds of the fans.
Tendulkar put in perspective how important it was for him to hold that trophy when Becker asked him to share the emotions he felt at that time.
“My journey started in 1983 when I was 10 years old. India had won the World Cup. I did not understand the significance and just because everybody was celebrating, I also joined the party,” he said.
“But I knew something special had happened to the country and I wanted to experience it one day and that’s how my journey began.
“It was the proudest moment of my life, holding that trophy which I chased for 22 years… I never lost hope. I was merely lifting that trophy on behalf of my countrymen.”
The 46-year-old Tendulkar, the highest run-getter in the world, said holding the Laureus trophy has also given him great honour.
He also talked about the impact the revolutionary South African leader Nelson Mandela had on him. Tendulkar met him when he was just 19 years old. “The hardship that he faced did not affect his leadership. Out of the many messages he left, the most important I felt was that sport has got the power to unite everyone.
“Today, sitting in this room with so many athletes, some of them did not have everything but they made the best of everything they had. I thank them for inspiring youngsters to pick a sport of their choice and chase their dreams. This trophy belongs to all of us, it’s not just about me.”
India skipper Virat Kohli also congratulated Tendulkar. “Congratulations Sachin paaji on being honoured with the prestigious Laureus Sporting Moment Award. A great achievement and a proud moment for our nation,” he tweeted.