Sachin Tendulkar and CNR Rao conferred Bharat Ratna

India's biggest sports icon Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist CNR Rao were conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, by President Pranab Mukherjee in a glittering ceremony in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday.

The two joined the list of 41 eminent personalities, who have been conferred with the Bharat Ratna in recognition for their contribution to the society.

Sachin Tendulkar is the first sportsman to be given the honour; he beat hockey legend Dhyan Chand to get the first Bharat Ratna. At 40, he is also the youngest recipient of the award.

Rao, 79, is the fourth scientist after C.V. Raman, M. Visvesvaraya and former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to get the Bharat Ratna.

Legendary cricketer Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket on November 16 last year of his 200 Test match.

The government had last year changed the nomination criteria for the Bharat Ratna to include sportspersons. Legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand was also recommended for the award but Tendulkar was preferred.

Tendulkar said that he was humbled and honoured to receive the Bharat Ratna. He also congratulated fellow recipient Prof Rao. "I would like to congratulate Prof CNR Rao for getting the Bharat Ratna. It is an honour to get the award with him, his contribution to the field of science is immense. It's only that cricket is played in front of thousands of people and is a popular field," he said.

Sachin Tendulkar is the first man to play 200 five-day Test matches, and he played more one-day international games, 463, than anyone else. He is the highest career run scorer - 15,847 in Tests and 18,426 in one-days -- in both formats. He has also scored 100 or more runs more often than anyone else in both formats, with 51 in Tests and 49 in one-days, giving him a neat and unprecedented 100 centuries in international cricket. He is also the first to score a double hundred in the 50-over format

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