India's second Grandmaster after Viswanathan Anand, Dibyendu Barua today welcomed the government's decision to bestow Bharat Ratna on Sachin Tendulkar but added that the five-time World chess champion too deserved the highest civilian award.
"With due respect to the government's announcement, I feel Viswanathan Anand too is very deserving for the award. Without any infrastructure and support, Anand became the world champion five times in a sport played by a number of countries," Barua told PTI reacting to the today's announcement that coincided with Tendulkar's retirement from cricket.
The 47-year-old was quick to add that it's hockey wizard Dhyan Chand with three Olympic gold medals, who is the most deserving candidate from the sports fraternity for the Bharat Ratna.
"Of course three names, Dhyan Chand, Viswanathan Anand and Tendulkar that come to mind when one talk about the sportspersons in India ... I feel, Dhyan Chand was the first to make the country proud in the world of sports. He's undoubtedly the most deserving candidate," Barua said.
"But I congratulate Tendulkar for the award. I'm more glad because for the first time anyone from the sports field has got the award ... The barricade has broken," Barua added.
Meanwhile city-based hockey Olympian gold medalist Gurubux Singh too felt that Dhyan Chand should have been given the honour.
"I congratulate Tendulkar for getting Bharat Ratna ... However I feel Dhyan Chand should have been given the honour. If not earlier, the government should have given him alongside Tendulkar," the 77-year-old said.
Tendulkar today became the first sportsperson to get the award as the PMO today announced the cricketer's name alongside scientist Prof Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao.