Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

NG reduces eyesight standard for special forces recruits

THE CABINET yesterday adjusted the visual acuity criterion for acceptance into the special forces in a bid to fill 15 positions left vacant at commando units.

The problem arose after military authorities decided to actually test new recruits instead of taking their word for it, as was the practice so far.

Recruits who want to join the underwater demolition teams and commando units must have perfect eyesight.

Eighty conscripts failed the test, leaving 15 positions vacant and prompting the defence ministry to lower the standard – from 10 out of 10 to 8 out of 10, one degree of myopia.

Defence Minister Christophoros Fokaides said all conscripts who meet the new criteria and wish to join the special forces can contest the positions.

However, the army was censured by MPs however for carrying out the physical ability tests before the eyesight test and not vice versa.

The House Defence Committee heard that the recruitment went smoothly, reaching 97.2 per cent.

Committee chairman Giorgos Varnava said temporary exemptions were around the same as last year but the picture would become clearer after the final figures were submitted.

Based on preliminary data, Fokaides said the number of conscripts applying for exemption citing psychological problems rose to 168 this year compared with 117 in the summer of 2013.

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