The CLAW Global team trains people with different abilities to conquer the sea, land and air for the triple elementary world record. All you need to join them is an indomitable spirit
The Special Forces (SF) are the Jedi Knights of the Indian Armed Forces: elite warriors accustomed to volunteering for impossible missions. Most at home in rocky defiles where snow falls in thick gusts, lush jungles where the vibe is as oppressive as the gray blanket of nimbus clouds and the dark depths of our oceans, they live their lives in the lesser corners. known to our country. Trained to survive, stabilize and thrive in extraordinary situations, they retire in their mid-30s with skills such as skydiving, scuba diving, mountaineering, unarmed combat and medical intervention. emergency. In the backcountry where most come from, and in the corporate jobs that are their second careers, these skills are rusting.
In January 2019, Major Vivek Jacob, a Para SF officer with 14 years of experience in the Indian military who had to hang up his boots following a combat parachuting injury, founded CLAW Global (Conquer Land Air and Water). , to teach life skills to adventurers and people with disabilities (PWD). Its core team, mostly in their thirties, also includes Major Arun Ambathy and five soldiers from the Para, Para SF regiments and the Marine Commandos (MARCOS).
“The CLAW team includes soldiers who have long been exposed to fierce fighting and civilian volunteers who join our ranks. Premature retirements in the FS are numerous – these soldiers seek change after years of difficult life and bloodshed – around 300 retire each year, ”says Arun, based in Chennai, one of the directors of CLAW , who retired after numerous injuries. “There are no ecosystems to absorb these men and CLAW has helped them adjust to a job profile they are comfortable with. In February 2019, CLAW’s Operation Blue Freedom began teaching people with disabilities to scuba dive to preserve their dignity.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the CLAW team provided free scuba diving training to more than 100 disabled people paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. He is in the process of building a squad for the first of the triple elementary world record to be held in the Maldives in April.
“We first train in the pool, then move on to quarry diving and then offshore. People with disabilities will also be trained in adapted parachuting. [Dubai] and adapted mountaineering [Siachen glacier] for registration. We hope to complete all three cases by the end of 2021, ”Arun said over the phone, adding that it was an open appeal for people with disabilities and able-bodied people to join them on the case. “People with disabilities have the spirit – like SF, they learn to thrive in a difficult world – but sometimes not the money or the circumstances. We want to fill that out. In the future, we hope that NGOs and businesses can directly sponsor people with disabilities.
Participants in the Scuba Diving Camp in Pondicherry | Photo credit: Cee Jay
In Pondicherry, a handful of unlikely amateurs – teenagers, doctors, students and veterans – gathered to learn to dive. “The level of handicap has never been a problem because we are trained in adapted diving. We have mixed lots – able-bodied, amputee, wheelchair users, some paralyzed in the neck … the government of India. “When we took Salma Salmath, a person with a disability, to dive at Lakshadweep, the powerful image of her in a hijab underwater opened the doors for others.”
Dr Deepa Venkatesh at camp | Photo credit: Cee Jay
In the Bay of Bengal, a boat propped up on a boulder with a scuba gear tips over, revealing little of the calm cobalt blue waters below. Coorg-based Dr Deepa Venkatesh, a 34-year-old polio dentist who uses crutches, follows her retired instructor Havildar Prabash Kumar as she carefully lowers into the ocean where visibility is 12 meters a good day.
“Our instructor / student ratio is 1: 1. We descend to 18 meters with eight gradual dips and vital signs monitoring – people with spinal cord injuries cannot thermoregulate and may lack bladder and bowel control, ”says Arun.
Adventure is for everyone
Instructors use a combination of encouragement and instruction. As a sweetener there is a bonfire in the evening, but during the day it is hard work. “This was the first time I heard about adapted scuba diving in India and now I want to compete for the record as well. CLAW got around my handicap, weighing my legs down so I wouldn’t continue to float. instructors are empathetic and make us practice on an equal basis with others; that makes all the difference, “says Dr Deepa, adding that she also enjoys skydiving.” Apprehensions abound but CLAW also addresses phobia issues. and sudden ascent which can be dangerous They are very systematic Adventure is for everyone.
Petty Officer Pardeep Ritwal, Formerly MARCOS and Combat Dive Instructor Who Lost His Leg in Cylinder Blast Accident, Helps Train People with Disabilities | Photo credit: special arrangement
This is something that MARCOS veteran Master Pardeep Ritwal believes in. Pardeep, a combat diving instructor lost his leg in an accident, but now helps people with disabilities dive. It jumps to the ocean’s edge and dives deep, pointing out that if you don’t live on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.
For registration and details call 9958084473.