Two ITBP officials, including the first woman IPS officer to have successfully scaled the South Pole, were on Thursday conferred with the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Aparna Kumar, 44, and Subedar Major Wangchuk Sherpa, 54, who have undertaken a number of successful expeditions across the globe, were decorated with the national sports award at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey said.
The award is given to recognise the achievements of those in the field of adventure to encourage young people to develop the spirit of endurance, risk-taking, cooperative teamwork and quick, ready and effective reflexes in challenging situations, and to provide incentive to youths for getting exposed to adventure activities.
While Aparna Kumar has been awarded in the land adventure category, Wangchuk Sherpa has been decorated under the life-time achievement category, he said.
Aparna Kumar, a 2002-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, has recently completed the prestigious seven summits' challenge by scaling all the seven top peaks of the seven continents.
"The officer had also reached the South Pole early this year. She is the first civil servant and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) officer to have completed the seven summit challenge. She is now eying the explorers' grand slam by reaching the North Pole," the spokesperson said.
Similarly, Wangchuk Sherpa has scaled the world's highest peak, Mount Everest, thrice.
"Sherpa has scaled more than 20 national and international peaks in his service career. He has been a part of various rescue operations in the Himalayas, including the 2003 Panchachuli disaster in which eight bodies of mountaineers were successfully retrieved from the icy heights," he said.
The award consists of a statuette, certificate and a prize money of Rs 5 lakh.
With these two, the force has won a total of 14 Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards till now, ITBP spokesperson said.
The mountain-warfare trained force has completed a record 213 mountaineering expeditions since it was raised in 1962, in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression.
Due to its high-altitude deployment along the China border, the force is trained for such exercises and has a special training school in Auli in Uttarakhand for this specific purpose.
ITBP teams, apart from putting their flag half-a-dozen times on the Mt Everest in the Himalayan ranges, have climbed peaks like Mt Kamet, Kanchenjunga, Panchachuli, Nanda Devi, Shivling, Chaukhamba, Saser Kangri and Mount Gya over these years.
The about 90,000 personnel strength force is primarily tasked to guard the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and it also renders a variety of tasks in the internal security domain of the country, including conducting anti-Naxal operations and rendering law and order duties.
It functions under the command of the Union Home Ministry.
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