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Kiren Rijiju, Bhaichung Bhutia Flag-off 'OP-Blue Freedom'

Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia started the 'Op-Blue Freedom', which is a nation-wide adaptive scuba diving programme for people with disabilities as well as able-bodied persons.


Updated:August 21, 2019, 6:38 PM IST
Kiren Rijiju, Bhaichung Bhutia Flag-off 'OP-Blue Freedom'
Bhaichung Bhutia (left) and Kiren Rijiju (Photo Credit: Twitter)

New Delhi: In a first-of-its-kind initiative in Asia, eight armed forces veterans, including from the elite special forces of Para regiment and MARCO, have initiated a high-end adventure sports survival training and self-defence mission at a pan India level titled 'Op-Blue Freedom as a part of their parent project -- Special Forces Adventures (SFA).

'Op-Blue Freedom' is a nation-wide adaptive scuba diving programme for people with disabilities as well as able-bodied persons.

The group of veterans intend to carry the project as a multi-city tour across India. After a successful leg of 'Op-Blue Freedom' in Chandigarh in July, the team dived on Wednesday at the SPM Swimming Pool Complex in Talkatora Garden, hosting Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and football legend Bhaichung Bhutia in a flag-off dive for the Delhi-NCR leg of Op-Blue Freedom.

Nine disabled persons dived with the team post off-water detailed briefing by the instructors. The dive sessions will be kept open from August 22-25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Each instructor holds decades of experience in adventure, survival and combat.

They aim to train adventure enthusiasts in valuable special forces skills like survival techniques, emergency first response skills, unarmed combat, endurance and fitness, in combination with the adventure activity one chooses to pursue -- mountaineering, trekking, scuba diving, sky diving etc.

Speaking at the flag-off dive, Rijiju said: "I feel happy to be a part of this closed water Op-Blue Freedom dive today with the team SFA. I myself intend to create awareness about adventure sports amidst the abled and disabled souls of this nation. These sorts of activities spike up human morale and self-esteem overall to make them feel self-sufficient."

The Special Forces Adventures (SFA) is led by Major (retd) Vivek Jacob and has veterans from the Indian Army Para Commandos and the Naval Marine Commandos (MARCOS).

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