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Captain Preet Chandi Makes It to South Pole Unsupported

British army 3 Medical Regiment Captain, Preet Chandi AKA Polar Preet, has become the first woman of colour to finish a solo expedition to the south pole. She is also the third-fastest woman to conquer the south pole in just 40 days, 7 hours, and 3 minutes. This record is incredibly close to the time set by Sweden’s Johanna Davidsson, who completed the trek in 38 days, 23 hours and 55 minutes in 2016. The second spot is also held by a British national, Hannah McKeand, who made it in 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes in 2006. The excruciating expedition takes typically 45 to 48 days, and these brilliant women were way ahead of schedule.

Preet Chandi Endures Hostile Conditions

Preet Chandi faced dangerous odds in her 700-mile-long journey from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. She had to pull 90kg sledge through a dense blizzard, freezing temperatures as low as -50C, and raging winds with up to 60mph. She often had to pull her sledge over sastrugi, waves of hard snow caused by winds. Near the end of her journey, she suffered from extreme exhaustion and persistent sickness and cough. On average, the captain travelled 17-miles daily during her mission.

After reaching her destination, she announced her achievement on social media and described her experience as “surreal”. She said she knew nothing about the polar world 3 years ago and felt so many emotions at once. Then she thanked everyone who supported her and explained that this trek was about much more than just her.

It is Something Considered Out of the Norm for Asian Women

Preet Chandi talked about why she wanted to embark on this journey. She said she wanted to encourage people to push boundaries and believe in themselves, especially those who do not fit a “certain” image. She had previously talked about how everyone she met was surprised at what she was about to do. Nobody understood where she was going and what it meant. Her aunt thought she was going somewhere near Norway. A Gurudwara she went to thought she was going to “Southall” instead of South Pole. Southall is a neighbourhood in the UK famous for mostly hosting desi (brown) residents. The captain was determined to smash the glass ceiling and do what was considered unnatural for Asian women.

Undertaking the Challenge

Preet Chandi from Sinfin, Derby, England, joined the British Army at the age of 19 in 2019. She had completed a 156-mile race across the Sahara Desert known as the Marathon des Sables. Before setting a foot towards the South Pole, she trained herself for 2 years.

Her training included pulling a tire tied to her waist along the streets. She also made a 27-day trip to Greenland to familiarize herself with the extreme weather conditions.

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