New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist C.N.R. Rao were Tuesday conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, by President Pranab Mukherjee in an gliterring ceremony in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
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.
Tendulkar, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha last year, is the first sportperson and the youngest recepient 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.
Tendulkar, who retired from all forms of cricket last Novemer, is the one most accomplished cricketers in the world, finishing his illustrious career with a fair clutch of records. He has 15,921 runs from a record 200 Test matches at an average of 53.58 and 51 centuries.
Tendulkar, 40, finished his ODI career last December just minutes before the team for Pakistan was announced. He has scored 18,426 runs from 463 ODIs with an average of 44.83 including 49 centuries. He was also the first to score a double hundred in the 50-over format
Rao is one of India's most renowned scientists and is known for his work in solid state and structural chemistry and has contributed immensely to the field in the last five decades. He is the honorary president of Bangalore's Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, which he founded in 1989.
Rao was also appointed the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in January 2005. He is also the director of the International Centre for Materials Science (ICMS).
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.