INDIA. Mumbai: “Soul of Steel, India”, a mountaineering expedition in which 23, including two women, mountaineers covered a distance of 65 km through glaciers, ice walls, rock faces and snow-capped Himalayan mountainous terrain at an altitude of 17000 feet, was concluded on Sunday.
The “Soul of Steel” event, supported by the Indian Army in collaboration with “Conquer Land Air Water (CLAW) Global”, was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on June 14 at Dehradun. The final phase of the event was held from June 10 to June 17, in which 18 Soul of Steel warriors set out on a challenge to compete as teams of three along the rugged mountainous terrain of the Garhwal Himalayas.
The closing ceremony at Ghamsali (Uttarakhand) was attended by GOC-in-C Central Command, GOC UB Area of Indian Army, school students, local villagers, officers and soldiers of Indian Army, ITBP, NDRF, amongst others.
The breathtaking performances by Indian Army on Rock Climbing, Mixed Martial Arts, and Kalaripayattu at the closing ceremony enthralled the audience. Besides, the local villagers presented a spectacular program of regional folk dances and songs.
In addition to presenting the winning team with their medals and trophy, the Chief Guest also announced the opening of “The Human Ability Biome,” which will serve as a permanent centre for advanced skill training courses in Land, Air, and Water adventure activities, life skills training, environmental conservation, forestry training programmes, rehabilitation, and research aimed at unlocking the potential of the human mind and body.
The winners included SOS Challenge: Runner Up Squad- Squad No 5- Ankush Mandhotra (Himachal Pradesh), Himanshu Kumawat (Rajasthan) and Tanmay Magarde (Maharashtra). Winner Squad- Squad No 4- Vishal Banne (Karnataka), Ravi Thakur (Haryana) and Navneet Pandey (Uttar Pradesh). SOS Training-Best in Endurance-Mmanoj Rana( Uttarakhand ) and Best in Technique-Vishal Banne (Karnataka).
1401 (including 94 women) extremely accomplished athletes, adventure sports fans, and potential military members expressed interest in the task. They underwent a testing two-stage screening process, and only 23 were ultimately chosen to participate in an intensive 10-week training programme in endurance, mountaineering, survival, and rescue techniques under the guidance of a team of professionals from the Indian Armed Forces and CLAW Global.
The “Soul of Steel Himalayan Challenge,” the first of its kind, was held in forward areas of the Garhwal Himalayan region with the goal of realising the Government of India initiative of “Vibrant Village,” which aims to arrest the migration from border areas by maximising the Himalayas’ tourism potential and generating income for the locals.