Sachin Tendulkar long carried a nation's cricketing hopes on his shoulders. But in 2011, at his last World Cup on home soil, his teammates returned the favor. Fans voted it the sporting moment of the century so far.
Former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar won a special award at the Laureus ceremonies in Berlin on Monday, a rare cricketing honor being handed out in Germany, where the sport's following is modest.
Tendulkar, who holds the record for the highest run scorer of all time in international cricket, won a fan vote for the award for the best Sporting Moment from the last two decades. The Laureus ceremony described the scene, as Tendulkar's teammates took him around the pitch for a victory lap, as the Indian cricketer being "carried on the shoulders of a nation."
"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 on receiving the award in Berlin.
It was the veteran Tendulkar's sixth shot at a one-day international World Cup, at home, and he'd made it clear it would be his last.
"It was the proudest moment of my 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," Tendulkar said, alluding to the moment.
Messi the first footballer, but he had to share
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Football superstar Lionel Messi shared the Laureus sportsman of the year award.
US gymnastics star Simone Biles won the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year for the third time.
German F3 driver Sophia Floersch bagged the award for Comeback of the Year for racing once again at the Macau Grand Prix last November, a year after a horrific crash on the same circuit left her with a spinal fracture.
German Basketball star German Dirk Nowitzki, who retired last year after a NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks that spanned over 21 years, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Laureus Sport for Good charity hosts the awards each year, which often focus on sport's impact on society.
Other winners on the night in Berlin:
Team of the Year: South Africa Men’s Rugby Team
Breakthrough of the Year: Egan Bernal (cyclist)
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oksana Masters
Action Sportsperson of the Year: Chloe Kim (snowboarder)
Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award: Spanish Basketball Federation
Laureus Sport for Good Award: South Bronx United (football)
dvv/msh (AFP, Reuters)