Tendulkar(40) and Rao(89), both of whom are recipients of Padma Vibhushan--the country's second highest civilian honour, join a list of 41 eminent personalities to get the award given in recognition of exceptional service of the highest order since it was instituted in 1954.

Sachin Tendulkar deserves Bharat Ratna: Lata Mangeshkar

In a fitting finale to a record-breaking career spanning 24 years, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, a former India Captain, was chosen for the prestigious award, as he bid adieu to international cricket after his farewell Test against the West Indies ended in Mumbai.
    
The announcement was made by Rashtrapati Bhavan within hours after Tendulkar played his 200th Test.
 
An official statement said Tendulkar has been a true Ambassador of India in the world of sports and his achievements in cricket are unparallelled, the records set by him unmatched, and the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by him exemplary.
    
"That he has been honoured with several awards is testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman," it said, noting that Tendulkar has played cricket across the world and won laurels for the country during the last 24 years since a young age of 16.
    
An outspoken scientist, Prof Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao is a well recognized international authority on solid state and materials chemistry who has published over 1,400 research papers and 45 books.
     
He is the third scientist after CV Raman and former President APJ Abdul Kalam to be given the Bharat Ratna.
    
Prof Rao's contributions have been recognized by most major scientific academies around the world through conferment of memberships and fellowships and has been honoured with several national and international awards, the official announcement said.
     
He currently serves as the Head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. There have been continuous demands for a long time for Tendulkar to be conferred the top honour and the eligibility criteria for it was revised last year to accommodate sportspersons as well.
     
Tendulkar is also the first active sportsperson to become a Rajya Sabha member last year. The Bharat Ratna was announced after a gap of four years with Hindustani music doyen Bhimsen Joshi being the last recipient in 2009.

Sachin deserving choice for Bharat Ratna: BCCI

The Board Cricket for Cricket in India (BCCI) welcomed the Indian government's decision to bestow Sachin Tendulkar with the Bharat Ratna.

"Sachin Tendulkar is an inspirational figure, and a role model for all sportspersons. He richly deserves the Bharat Ratna. I extend my heartiest congratulations to him," said BCCI president N. Srinivasan.

"He is the most deserving person. I congratulate the government for this decision. The timing is also right. His records cannot be broken for the next 100 years," added BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla.

PM calls Tendulkar, congratulates him for glittering career
     
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh joined the nation in congratulating Sachin Tendulkar for a glorious career which ended with his 200th Test match in Mumbai.
      
The Prime Minister personally called the batting icon and wished him well for the future. But there was a minor glitch before the pleasantries were exchanged. Apparently, Tendulkar's phone was so busy due to an outpouring of wishes that he was unaware that Singh had been trying to call him.
     
Singh then got in touch with BCCI vice-President Rajeev Shukla, who is also a Congress MP, to get through to Tendulkar. Shukla told Tendulkar to be available for the call from the top office.
     
"The Prime Minister wanted to talk to Tendulkar on his retirement and wish him well for the future," Shukla said.

Sports fraternity welcomes Bharat Ratna for Tendulkar
 
The sporting fraternity bowed in admiration as India's pride Tendulkar walked into sunset after a glorious 24-year-long international cricket career and welcomed the government's decision to confer him with the Bharat Ratna.
     
Former India hockey player Ashok Kumar, the son of legendary Dhyan Chand, who was also a contender for the country's highest civilian honour, congratulated Tendulkar.
     
"I am very happy that at last a sportsperson is being conferred with the Bharat Ratna. Sachin truly deserves the honour," Ashok said.

"We are not at all disappointed that Dhyanchand did not get the Bharat Ratna. We tried our best. I am happy that Sachin is the first sportsperson to receive the honour.
     
"It is a welcome step from the government to include sportspersons for Bharat Ratna. This recognition will motivate all sportspersons to excel in their fields," added Ashok.
     
Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia also echoed the similar sentiments and said, "It's great that a sportsperson has been conferred with the Bharat Ratna. For a sportsperson to ply his trade for 24 long years at a consistently high standard, he deserves the honour."
     
Two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar said the move will open the doors for other sportspersons to get the recognition.
     
"I am very happy for him and would like to congratulate Sachin on Bharat Ratna. He has done so much for cricket. The government has conferred the honour at the right time when he is bowing out on a high. I am happy with the decision and it will open the doors for other sportspersons also.      

"Sachin inspired a whole generation of sportspersons. I wish him a happy retired life. We will miss him on the cricket field," Sushil said.
     
Former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay said Bharat Ratna was a fitting farewell gift to Tendulkar.
     
"A big congratulation to Sachin. Thank you very much government of India for recognising sportspersons for Bharat Ratna," Pillay said.

(Agencies)

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