Sachin Tendulkar and Viswanathan Anand, two of India's sporting icons whose exploits have earned them worldwide acclaim, on Friday added another feather to their cap by being selected for the prestigious Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award.
The 34-year-old Tendulkar, who has been in vintage batting form in the ongoing Test series against Australia, and chess wizard Anand were among the five sportspersons selected for this year's Padma awards.
Star footballer Bhaichung Bhutia and swimmer Bula Chowdhury were named for the Padma Shri while the late Edmund Hillary, the first to scale Mt Everest, would get Padma Vibhushan award posthumously.
Tendulkar, who made his international Test debut against Pakistan in Karachi in 1989 at a tender age of 16, is no stranger to awards and is a recipient of several honours.
Tendulkar has received the Arjuna Award in 1994 and the Padma Shri in 1999.
He was given the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, country's highest sporting honour, in 1998. He was also chosen as the Wisden cricketer of the year in 1997 while 'Time' magazine named him in November 2006 as one of the Asian heroes.
For the 37-year-old Anand, the award caps a brilliant phase in his illustrious career during which the Indian rose to the world number one spot after a series of impressive performances.
Anand also won the inaugural Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in the year 1991-1992 and the Padma Bhushan in 2000.
Anand won the Arjuna award in 1985 and Soviet Land Nehru Award in 1987. Besides, he also won the coveted Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2004.
Bhaichung's distinguish career has also seen him winning a few awards, including the Arjuna award in 1999. He became the fifth Indian footballer -- after Gostho Pal (1962), Sailen Manna (1971), Chuni Goswami (1983) and PK Banerjee (1990) -- to win the award.
For Bula, the first Indian woman to swim English Channel twice, the award is a recognition for her numerous long-distance endeavours.
In a career spanning more than two decades, Bula has become the first woman in the world to have conquered the seven seas in five continents, a distinction she earned in August, 2004.
Bula swam the English Channel in 1989 and repeated the feat in 1999 to become the first Asian woman to swim the channel twice.
She then cross the Strait of Gibraltar in 2000, Tiranian Sea in Italy (2001), Great Toroneos Gulf in Greece (2002), Catalina Channel in the US (2002) and Cooks Straits in New Zealand (2003).