Bhubaneswar: Dubai-based, Sambalpur born girl, Tisya Panigrahi has become the youngest scuba diver from Odisha. The 10-year-old Tisya successfully completed her PADI Junior Open Water Scuba Diver’s Course yesterday. A student of Raffles World Academy School in Dubai (she will start her Grade 5 classes soon), she jumped off into the Arabian Sea in the Gulf Of Oman, on the east coast of UAE at Fujairah to complete her certification dives and acquire her prized license. In her last training dive she went down to 33 feet and practiced her skills.
PADI which stands for “Professional Association of Diving Instructors” is the world’s largest scuba diving training and certification organization. It was founded in 1966 in Illinois, United States of America. With more than 6,600 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, and 137,000 individual PADI Professionals who have issued more than 27 million certifications around the world, PADI’s diver courses and scuba diving services are available nearly everywhere across the globe.
Tisya’s certification process involved a 4-day training program which consisted of class room sessions, training in the swimming pool and finally 4 dives in the open sea. To be eligible for this training, she also had to pass a basic endurance test – which involved a 200-meter swim and a 10 mins floating session.
Born to Priyadarshee Panigrahi from Sambalpur and Soumitri Nanda from Cuttack, Tisya happens to be the granddaughter of Late Sriballav Panigrahi and late Sunanda Panigrahi. Sriballav Panigrahi, a leading political figure of Odisha was a Cabinet Minister and a three-term member of the Lok Sabha. In 1972, he was the youngest cabinet minister in the country when he joined Nandini Satpathy’s cabinet at the age of 32. Sunanda Panigrahi was an educationist and retired as a Reader in English from Government Women’s College of Sambalpur.
Tisya’s interest in scuba diving was kindled by the experiences of her father Priyadarshee Panigrahi, who is himself a certified PADI Open Water Diver. Hearing about the beautiful life under the sea from her father, she got exposed to her father’s underwater videos and pictures at a very early age and immediately took a liking for them.
According to Tisya, “I was itching to turn 10 years old as one can learn diving and enroll for the Junior Open Water Diver’s course only after becoming 10. In fact, I wanted to do the course on the day of my 10th Birthday but I could not because of the Corona Pandemic. Acquiring the Junior Open Water Diver’s licence is a dream come true for me.”
“It is my father who kindled my interest in diving. I always wanted to join him in his underwater exploits. However, it was my mother who enrolled me for my swimming classes and took active interest in my swimming training,” she said.
Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor and Specialty Instructor Domingo Jasareno Labitag, who hails from the Philippines, was Tisya’s teacher at Al Boom Diving, UAE’s largest Diving School. Domingo said, “Tisya’s strength impressed me. She completed all her critical underwater skills easily. I did not have to struggle with her. I wish she dives a lot in her life.”