'A prayer in unity does make a difference. Pray for every being and stand together.'
India's sports fraternity on Sunday joined the country in showing solidarity in the fight against the rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic by lighting lamps and candles in response to Prime Minster Narendra Modi's call to demonstrate the nation's collective resolve.
PM Modi had appealed to the people to turn off lights and instead lit diyas, candles and other forms of light for nine minutes at 9pm IST on Sunday to show the nation's collective resolve to fight coronavirus.
Sports personalities such as India cricket captain Virat Kohli, batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, six-time world champion boxer MC Mary Kom, sprinter Hima Das, Rio Olympics bronze medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik, London Games bronze winner Saina Nehwal, cricketers Virender Sehwag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina and many others took to social media to express their solidarity in the fight against the deadly disease.
"A prayer in unity does make a difference. Pray for every being and stand together," tweeted Kohli as he lighted the diyas with his wife Anushka Sharma.
Tendulkar thanked the sanitation workers for their selfless service and posted a photograph where everyone was holding a candle.
"My family & I thank the selfless #SanitationWarriors cleaning our surroundings & hospitals, disinfecting affected areas & thus keeping the virus at bay. Let's also reignite our pledge to take care of our elders, the most vulnerable - by ensuring their physical & mental wellness," he tweeted.
Mary Kom posted a video where she alongwith her family could be seen flashing their cellphone torches for nine minutes.
Hima also shared a video message where she was holding a lamp.
"The whole nation is together in this fight against coronavirus. As a nation we will defeat coronavirus and build a new nation which will be peaceful, happy and healthy," she said in Assamese in the video.
Among the cricketers, Sehwag tweeted: "In solidarity with each and every single person who is playing their part. We are all in this together and shall overcome this soon. Om Shantih Shantih Shantih."
Ashwin posted a video of his neighbourhood.
"9 o clock 9 minutes!! #diyajalao," he tweeted.
"But I really do wonder where all these people bought their crackers from and of course ( when is the most important Q)!!," he added, referring to the bursting of crackers, which could be heard across Delhi.
Raina, who had donated 52 lakhs to fight the novel coronavirus, also joined others in a show of solidarity.
"Let's stand is solidarity & beat this terrible time the whole world is going through. We can do it India! #COVID2019 #9baje9mintues @PMOIndia @narendramodi," Raina wrote.
Sakshi Malik also took to twitter to show her commitment to the cause.
"One lamp in the name of the nation #9pm9minutes @narendramodi @KirenRijiju," Sakshi wrote on her handle.
Saina, who had recently joined BJP, wrote: "I m so proud of our country .. we are really fighting hard with Coronavirus ans I m sure we will come out as winner Folded handsFolded hands #lightdiya9pm9mins tonight Smiling faceThumbs up #coronavirus."
Irfan Pathan wrote: "It was so good untill ppl started bursting crackers #IndiaVsCorona."
This is the second such appeal from the Prime Minister, who had earlier urged the nation to observe 'Janta Curfew' and express gratitude towards healthcare workers and other basic service providers by clapping for them.
It had received an overwhelming response from the citizens, including the sportspersons.