New Delhi: Master Blaster as he is fondly called, Indian batting legendwas today conferred with the Indian Air Force’s honorary rank of Group Captain to honor his achievements and his contribution to the nation.
Tendulkar has created history of sorts by becoming the first sportsperson to receive the honor. In 2008,, who captained the winning team of World Cup was conferred with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Territorial Army.
The 37-year-old batting maestro was inducted into the Air Force as its brand ambassador with the IAF Chief Marshal P V Naik offering the honors at a glittering ceremony at the Air Force auditorium here.
"It's a great pleasure and honour to be honoured by IAF. It was a wishful thinking and it has come true today. I'm extremely proud to be a part of IAF. I want to urge the youth to join air force and serve the nation. So dream, because dreams do come true," Tendulkar said after receiving the honour.
President Ms. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has earlier conferred the honorary rank to the icon on June 23 this year. The conferment was on a proposal by the IAF to confer the honorary rank on Tendulkar in January this year. IAF feels that besides the recognition, his association with it would motivate the younger generation to join the Air Force to serve the country.
Air Force Chief Naik said the batting legend's association with IAF will help in making the youth aware about the Air Force. "Youth admires him (Tendulkar). I think the youth will get inclined towards the Air Force. What youth will do in future we can't say but the indications that we are getting from school students ... we are hopeful. To take corrective measures in reforming the IAF is my duty and Sachin's association will help in spreading awareness (about the Air Force)."
Before conferring the rank, Tendulkar was familiarized with the IAF training and other aspects of the military.
Till date, 21 eminent personalities have been granted honorary ranks by the IAF, the first being the Raja of Jawhar Yashwant Rao, who was conferred the Flight Lieutenant's rank in 1944.
Industrialist JRD Tata was made an honorary Air Vice Marshal in 1974 and the last one to get such an honour in 1990 was industrialist-cum-aviator Vijaypat Singhania, who is now an honorary Air Commodore.
In a career spanning more than two decades, Tendulkar has crossed many milestones and holds almost every batting record. He is the most-capped Test cricketer in the world with 169 matches to his name.