British Sikh woman ‘Polar Preet’ claims record for fastest solo ski across Antarctica


Also honored as ‘woman of the year’ at the Women in Defence Awards 2022, Chandi made history by becoming the first woman of color to complete a 700-mile Antarctic journey – solo and unsupported – to the South Pole in 2021

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British Sikh Army medic Harpreet Chandi has claimed that she has now set a third record after already setting two Guinness World Records before. By covering 1,130 km of Antarctic ice in 31 days, 13 hours and 19 minutes, Chandi claims that she has become the fastest woman to ski solo across Antarctica, as reported by The Independent.

“I’m tired but so glad I made it. This was completely different to my last expedition… I completely pushed myself to my limits on my last expedition, a speed attempt is completely different,” the 34-year-old said, who is popularly known as Polar Preet. “After my last expedition, I knew I could cope well on the ice which gave me the confidence to tackle this head on,” she added.

For the trek, Chandi left the Hercules inlet on the Ronne ice shelf on November 26, and arrived at the South Pole at 2.24 am UK time on December 28. She skied for between 12 and 13 hours a day on average and pulled a 75 kg sled that had everything she needed to survive behind her.

“It was definitely not a sprint, but I had to constantly weigh up my effort and how long I would ski for each day. Too long or too fast and I was going to burn out. Too slow or finish too early and I’d miss out on the record,” she said.

Calling Antarctica an amazing place and glad that it allowed her a safe passage, Chandi said,  “It’s an absolute privilege to be here. It is not a place any person can conquer; it is a place you treat with respect and hope it allows you safe passage.”

 Chandi is on a career break from military service where she was a physiotherapist providing rehabilitation for injured soldiers and officers. Chandi was born in Derby. She is a Sikh of Indian Punjabi descent.

Speaking about her journey, she said her focus was on what she could control, not what she couldn’t. “I couldn’t control the conditions — the blistering sun, the whiteouts, the temperatures of minus 30 degrees C, but I can control how I dealt with them. Just keep taking it one step at a time,” Chandi, who was named Member of the British Empire recently, said.

“One of my biggest motivations in those dark times on the ice is the thought of inspiring others to face their own challenge,” she said. 


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