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British-Indian army officer Harpreet Chandi first woman of colour to reach South Pole solo

British-born Sikh army officer Captain Harpreet Chandi has made history by becoming the first "woman of colour" to complete a solo expedition to the South Pole.

She uploaded a live tracking map of her trek and also posted regular blogs of her journey to the snow-capped region.
She uploaded a live tracking map of her trek and also posted regular blogs of her journey to the snow-capped region. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PreetChandi10

Her adventure began in November last year, when she embarked on her journey unsupported from Antarctica's Hercules Inlet. She spent the next few weeks skiing solo across Antarctica and announced on January 3 that she had completed the 700 mile (1126 km) trek in 40 days.

"I made it to the South Pole where it's snowing," Chandi announced on her blog. "Feeling so many emotions right now... it feels so surreal to finally be here," the 32-year-old, who has adopted the moniker 'Polar Preet', added. 

“This expedition was always about so much more than me. I want to encourage people to push their boundaries and to believe in themselves, and I want you to be able to do it without being labelled a rebel. I have been told no on many occasions and told to ‘just do the normal thing’, but we create our own normal," Chandi said.

She uploaded a live tracking map of her trek and also posted regular blogs of her journey to the snow-capped region.

As part of a Medical Regiment in the northwest of England, Chandi’s primary role is to organise and validate training for medics in the Army as Clinical Training Officer.

Currently based in London, she is completing her masters degree in Sports and Exercise Medicine, part-time, at Queen Mary’s University in London and had dragged around two large tyres over the past few months for her polar training as a substitute for the heavy sledge she has been dragging along in Antarctica.

She got engaged to Army reservist fiance David Jarman before setting off on her expedition. The couple are expected to be reunited in Chile when she returns from the South Pole later this month.

Chandi says she has always been keen to push the human body to its limits and sees her latest mission as part of this wider research.

As an "endurance athlete", she has run marathons and ultra-marathons and, as an Army officer, completed large-scale exercises and deployments in Nepal, Kenya and most recently a six-month United Nations peacekeeping tour to South Sudan.

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CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

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