Sachin Tendulkar wins top India honour – Bharat Ratna

India’s cricket star Sachin Tendulkar has been awarded the country’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.

The award was announced hours after Tendulkar retired from international cricket following India’s victory over the West Indies in a Test in Mumbai.

Tendulkar is the first sportsman to win the award and – at 40 – the youngest.

“I dedicate this award to my mother,” the man called the God of Cricket said. Sachin had made special arrangements to ensure his mother, Rajni Tendulkar, watched his 200th and last Test match against West Indies at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium, which ended today.

For Sachin Tendulkar the announcement crowned a prolonged and emotional farewell from a tearful nation of cricket lovers. He finished exactly 24 years of playing Test cricket for India yesterday, ending his last innings with a sublime 74. He holds almost every batting record in the book and is acknowledged by many as the world’s best batsman ever.

There have been demands for several years now that India’s most prolific batsman be honoured as a Bharat Ratna or India’s gem. The award is given in recognition of exceptional service of the highest order. It was instituted in 1954.

“Shri Sachin Tendulkar is undoubtedly an outstanding cricketer – a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe. During the last 24 years, since the young age of 16 years, Shri Tendulkar has played cricket across the world and won laurels for our country. He has been a true ambassador of India in the world of sports. His achievements in cricket are unparalleled, 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,” the PMO release said while announcing the award for Tendulkar.

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