Sambalpur born Tisya Panigrahi dives 70 Ft. Deep and becomes Odisha’s youngest Junior Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver

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Sambalpur : A 12-year-old girl from Odisha’s Sambalpur has become the state’s youngest junior advanced open water scuba diver. Tisya Panigrahi dived to a depth of 70 feet in the Gulf of Oman on June 8, which is her birthday, and June 9 to achieve the feat.

This Advanced License can be attempted only after turning 12 years old and Tisya went for the license on the day she attained this age. She celebrated her birthday by going to a depth of 70 feet in the sea at the Martini Rock dive site, on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In this dive, she was also accompanied by her father Priyadarshee Panigrahi who is himself a certified scuba diver since 2012.

PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) gave out the Junior Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver license to Tisya on the 9th of June after the successful completion of the stipulated 5 dives this course demands. PADI is the world’s largest scuba diving training and certification organization. Founded in 1966 in Illinois, United States of America, it operates in 186 countries and territories, with a global network of more than 6,600 dive centres and resorts.

The course began with eLearning through interactive lessons. The instructor then discussed each dive in detail with her. A deep dive below 18 meters/60 feet and an underwater navigation dive are compulsory. In addition to this, she had to choose 3 more dives as per her liking from an available list of speciality dives. Spending a total of more than 3 hours underwater (in these 5 dives), she completed her course in 2 days at Al Boom Diving, Al Aqah, Fujairah, UAE.  Al Boom Diving is UAE’s largest diving school.

Tisya said ‘I enjoy scuba diving and the underwater world fascinates me. Being a Junior Open Water Diver, I was allowed to dive up to 12 meters/40 feet. However, I was very keen to explore further and dive like adults who could dive up to 18 meters/60 feet. I was looking forward to turning 12 years old so that I could do the Junior Advanced Course and dive up to 21 meters/70 feet.’

Tisya’s Scuba diving father Priyadarshee expressed his happiness in her pursuits. He said ‘I am glad that Tisya has taken a liking to dive and pursues it with a lot of passion. It is a great feeling to dive with her and explore and admire the underwater world together.

Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor Youssef Grouchi, who hails from Morocco, was Tisya’s instructor at Al Boom Diving. Youssef said ‘It was my pleasure to see such a young child doing an advanced course. I was happy to teach her, and she is a quick learner. She was asking me the right questions which made me really enjoy my dives with her. She is a well-behaved child, who is curious to know many things. He wished Tisya good Luck for her future dives.

Odisha’s pioneering Scuba diver Sabir Bux who is widely known as a Scuba diving expert and has advised Tisya’s father from time to time has also expressed his joy at Tisya’s achievement. He sent out a congratulatory message and said ‘Tisya has made us proud by doing such a remarkable job. I congratulate her and their family members. God bless her’.

Born to Priyadarshee Panigrahi from Sambalpur and Soumitri Nanda from Cuttack, Tisya is the granddaughter of Late Sriballav Panigrahi and  Late Smt. Sunanda Panigrahi. Sriballav Panigrahi was a leading political figure during his time. He had been a Cabinet Minister in Odisha and also a 3-term Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha). Smt. Sunanda Panigrahi was an educationist and retired as a Reader in English from Govt. Women’s College of Sambalpur. Tisya also happens to be the granddaughter of former MLA from Sambalpur, Dr. Raseswari Panigrahi.

Tisya became Odisha’s youngest Scuba Diver in 2020 when she obtained her PADI Junior Open Water Scuba diver license at an age of 10. Her interest in scuba diving was kindled by the experiences of her father Priyadarshee Panigrahi, who is himself a certified PADI Open Water Diver. Tisya got exposed to her father’s underwater videos and pictures at a very early age and immediately took a liking for them. Both father and daughter had captured the imagination of people when they had dived 40 feet last year to wish people on ‘Nuakhai’ festival, from the bottom of the sea. This feat had become very popular and had featured widely in various media.