Preet Chandi: Polar skier hopes latest feat will inspire others

Preet Chandi
Image caption,”Polar Preet” experienced temperatures of -30C during her solo expedition

By Will Jefford

BBC News

A British Army officer who claims to have become the world’s fastest woman to complete a solo South Pole ski expedition says she wants to show people “you can do anything”.

Preet Chandi believes she has broken the world record by covering 1,130km (702 miles) of Antarctic ice in 31 days, 13 hours and 19 minutes.

She already holds two world records for Antarctic trekking.

Her achievement is still to be verified by the Guinness World Records team.

Capt Chandi, who has earned the nickname “Polar Preet”, set off from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf on 26 November and arrived at the South Pole at 02:24 GMT on 28 December.

She said the expedition “all went really well”.

“I’m really proud,” she said. “It doesn’t really ever sink in straight away.”

Preet Chandi
Image caption,Capt Chandi was skiing for 12 to 13 hours a day on average

Capt Chandi, from Sinfin, Derby, was skiing for 12 to 13 hours a day on average, pulling a 75kg sled containing everything she needed to survive.

She said the hardest time of the day for her was the last hour.

“That last hour, sometimes you just really want to stop early and I would never, no matter what the weather was like, let myself stop early,” she said.

“Having that discipline was super important.

“It was tough – it gets hard. You just have to take it a day at a time.”

Capt Chandi previously trekked from the Hercules Inlet to the Reedy Glacier in the Antarctic, between 13 November 2022 and 23 January 2023.

The challenge meant she not only surpassed the world record for the longest polar ski expedition by a woman but also the overall record.

She first made history trekking to the South Pole in 2021.

Preet Chandi
Image caption,Capt Chandi said she wanted to show people “you can do anything”

Capt Chandi said she hoped her achievement would help to inspire others.

“I literally didn’t know anything about this world a few years ago and it’s just incredible that I’ve even managed to get here,” she said.

“It goes bigger than just the adventure.

“I really want to show people that you can do anything whether it’s education, sport, adventure – whatever it is – you know, go and do the thing that is a little bit scary, a little bit nervous – that’s OK.”

Capt Chandi is on a career break from military service. She is a physiotherapist at a facility in Buckinghamshire, providing rehabilitation for injured soldiers and officers.

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