April 2, 2011, Wankhede Grounds of Mumbai. The Indian team won the Cricket World Cup after 28 years. After the match, the players of Team India made the rounds of the field by sitting Sachin Tendulkar on the shoulder. This picture is still alive in the minds of cricket lovers. After Team India’s victory, this moment of celebration was chosen as the most memorable moment in the world.
It was such a memorable moment, for anyone who saw it, it would not be easy for them to forget it. On Monday, the picture of Sachin Tendulkar being carried on the shoulder by his fellow players was chosen as the two-decade Laureus Sporting Moment. Sachin had neither scored a winning run in the final, nor had taken any wickets nor taken a brilliant catch. In a sense, his contribution to the World Cup final was not very impressive but Tendulkar was the star of the show. When Virat Kohli and other team members made him round the field, sitting on his shoulder.
The title of this picture, ‘Carried on the Shoulders of a Nation’, sat on the shoulder by a country. The same photo was chosen the winner based on the number of votes polled worldwide. Sachin also became the first Indian to win this Laureus title. It is considered the best award in the world of sports.
Sachin was awarded the title by two great players – former Australian cricket team captain Steve Waugh and tennis legend Boris Baker. In his emotional speech, Sachin said, ‘The feeling of winning the World Cup cannot be expressed in words … there is very little that the whole country can celebrate together. The World Cup victory was something like this. It reminds you of the strength of the game and the extent to which it works in our lives. Even today, when I see that moment, my hair grows up. This moment will always be with me.
Tendulkar said, ‘I was 10 years old in 1983, when my journey started. India won the World Cup for the first time. At that time I did not realize how big a moment it was, just because everyone was celebrating, I also joined them. But somewhere I knew that something big had happened for the country and I also wanted to be a part of it. This is how my journey started. When the trophy of the 2011 World Cup was in my hands and the tricolor together, it was the most proud moment of my life. Holding the trophy that I was chasing for 22 years. But I never gave up hope, never gave up. I was holding the trophy on behalf of my countrymen. ‘
Sachin also talked about the influence of Nelson Mandela. Tendulkar was 19 when he met Mandela on a tour of South Africa. Sachin said, ‘The difficulties faced by him (Nelson Mandela) have never affected his leadership. Among his many messages, the most influential to me was the power to connect everyone in the game.
He further said, ‘Today I am sitting in this room with many big athletes. Some did not have everything but they used their talents to the fullest. I thank them for inspiring the youth to choose the game and chase their dreams. This trophy is dedicated to all youth, it is not just for me.