'The nation salutes your valour': Indian athletes take to Twitter to welcome back IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman

  • As Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India on Friday, the country’s athletes took to Twitter to laud his courage in the face of fire.

  • Abhinandan's MiG-21 Bison was shot down on Wednesday, and he was consequently captured by Pakistani troops.

  • Current and former India cricketers like Virat Kohli, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Irfan Pathan were among the first to take to Twitter to welcome him back.

As Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India on Friday evening, the country’s athletes took to Twitter to welcome the Indian Air Force pilot back and laud his courage in the face of fire.

Abhinandan's MiG-21 Bison was shot down on Wednesday, and he was consequently captured by Pakistani troops. He had engaged with a Pakistan Air Force F-16 aircraft after it had violated Indian airspace over Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district.

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan had announced on Thursday that Varthaman would be released as a “peace offering”.

Current and former India cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Irfan Pathan were among the first to take to the social networking site to applaud his courage, while India hockey captain Rani Rampal also tweeted to welcome the IAF pilot back. Varthaman's return caused widespread celebrations among Indians on Twitter.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, which launched a new jersey for the 2019 ICC World Cup on Friday, also posted a heartwarming image of a jersey with Varthaman’s name at the back.

Even the All India Football Federation heaped praise on Varthaman for being a source of inspiration.

Here are a few selected tweets from India’s sporting fraternity:

Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan also tweeted "recognising the humanitarian gesture".

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2019 23:34:28 IST