Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar being lifted on the shoulders of his teammates after the side’s World Cup victory in 2011 has been voted as the Laureus best sporting moment in the last 20 years. Tendulkar got the maximum number of votes and was declared the winner on Monday. Tendulkar was part of the squad that lifted the World Cup at home under MS Dhoni at the Mumbai maestro’s home ground, the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Following the memorable triumph, Tendulkar’s teammates lifted him on their shoulders and went on a lap of honor, a moment much cherished by fans. Former Australian captain Steve Waugh handed the trophy to Tendulkar while former tennis star Boris Becker announced him as the winner.
"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. 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 said after being handed the honor.
Asked by Becker to express his feeling on winning the trophy, Tendulkar became nostalgic and went back to 1983, the year India won their maiden World Cup. "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. But somewhere I knew something special has happened to the country and I wanted to experience it one day and that's how my journey began," an emotional Tendulkar recalled
On finally lifting the trophy, Tendulkar described it as the proudest moment of his life. “Holding that trophy which I chased for 22 years but I never lost hope. I was merely lifting that trophy on behalf of my countrymen."
During the speech, the Indian legend also recalled his encounter with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the age of 19 and the profound impact it had on him. "His hardship did not affect his leadership. Out of 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," Tendulkar concluded.
--By A Cricket Correspondent