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A reminder of the magic sport brings to our lives, says Tendulkar


Feb. 18, 2020

Tendulkar dedicates Laureus award to all champion athletes who have inspired youngsters
The other day Onkar Singh, a journalist with Deutsche Welle in Bonn, spoke about how football changed people’s lives in Germany.
“Whenever there is a major football competition, the Germans are all happy. And when Germany won the FIFA World Cup, people were so happy that they were even hugging strangers in the street,” said Onkar, who was at the 20th Laureus World Sports Awards function here.
When Sachin Tendulkar won the Laureus Sporting Moment of the last 20 years at the Verti Music Hall here on Monday, he spoke about a similar feeling, how it unites his countrymen back home.
“This is a reminder of how powerful sport is and what magic it does to all our lives. We experience the power of sport and even now, as I watch this film (about India’s 2011 ICC World Cup triumph and how his teammates carried him around the stadium), it is really amazing. It is an incredible feeling, something beyond words,” said Tendulkar.
Everybody who had come for the Laureus ceremony, especially the Germans, clearly understood the feeling. The Laureus Sporting Moment 2000-2020 was decided through an online voting system open to the public and with India’s huge population and Tendulkar’s massive popularity back home, it was clear that the Master Blaster would be the big favourite.
“I’d like to thank the Laureus Academy members and also for the people who voted and felt that the moment (aptly titled, ‘Carried on the shoulders of a nation’) that we saw on the screen, was worth voting for,” said Tendulkar. “There is a tricolour in my hand in the image, this was obviously the proudest moment of my life. I had waited for this trophy for 22 but I never gave up, I never lost hope. I was merely lifting that trophy on behalf of my countrymen and India. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Tendulkar saluted Laureus for its impressive work to change people’s lives.
“With everyone celebrating Laureus’ 20th anniversary, it’s incredible what the Academy has been able to achieve in the last 20 years, how much it has impacted so many lives through various mediums for gender equality, education etc.”
He also spoke about the moment he met Nelson Mandela.
“I had the honour of meeting the great man Nelson Mandela when I was only 19. His hardship did not affect his leadership. Out of the many big messages that he left behind, the most important I felt was that sport has the power to unify everyone,” said Tendulkar.
“Today, sitting in this room with so many greats, some of them did not have the best of everything but they gave the best of everything they had and have gone on to become champion athletes. I want to thank all of them for inspiring youngsters to pick up a sport of their choice and chase their dreams.
“I feel this trophy belongs to all of us for having inspired youngsters and it’s not just about me.”
The Laureus Award winners:
World Sportsman of the Year: Lewis Hamilton and Lionel Messi; World Sportswoman of the Year: Simone Biles.
World Team of the Year: South Africa Men’s Rugby Team; World Breakthrough of the Year: Egan Bernal.
World Comeback of the Year: Sophia Florsch; World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oksana Masters.
Best Sporting Moment: ‘Carried on the shoulders of a nation’ – Sachin Tendulkar.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Dirk Nowitzki; Exceptional Achievement Award: Spanish Basketball Federation; Sport for Good Award: South Bronx United.
(The author was in Berlin at the invitation of Laureus)
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