Wrestler Bajrang Punia won gold at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov wrestling tournament in Bulgaria and dedicated his victory to Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who returned to India from Pakistan on Friday.
The World Championship silver medallist defeated America’s Jordan Oliver 12-3 in the 65kg category final at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov wrestling in Ruse, Bulgaria. He also secured the maximum ranking points from the tournament.
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“I want to dedicate my gold to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. He has inspired me. I want to meet him one day and also shake hands with him,” Bajrang Punia tweeted after his victory.
मैं अपना गोल्ड मेडल हमारे बहादुर वायु योद्धा #WingCommandorAbhinandan को समर्पित करना चाहता हूं। उन्होंने मुझे बहुत प्रेरणा दी और मुझमें जोश भर दिया। मैं किसी दिन उनसे मिलकर उनसे हाथ मिलाना चाहता हूं।
🇮🇳 जय हिन्द जय भारत 🇮🇳👏 pic.twitter.com/Ww54FKt1VU
— Bajrang Punia (@BajrangPunia) March 2, 2019
Bajrang, who bagged the top prize at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year, has won four gold medals and one silver in the last five tournaments.
Wing Commander Abhinandan remained in Pakistan’s captivity for around 59 hours before being handed over to Indian authorities on Friday night.
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Wing Commander Abhinandan was flying the MiG-21 Bison when he chased the Pakistani F-16 fighters which had transgressed into the Indian airspace, and in the process, his plane crossed over to the Pakistani side and was shot down. Though he managed to eject safely but was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army upon landing.