Eastern Eye (UK)
Princess praises Polar Preet’s ‘incredible’ feat
BRITISH Sikh Army captain Preet Chandi has won praise from the Catherine, Princess of Wales, for her record-breaking solo trek across Antarctica.
Chandi completed her unsupported and unassisted expedition in the icy continent – the longest such journey by a woman – in January this year, covering 1,484km (922 miles) in 70 days and 16 hours.
During her visit to Landau Forte College in Derby last Wednesday (8), the princess said the army officer’s feat was “incredible” which would inspire others to push boundaries.
Catherine told Chandi: “I just think it’s incredible, what you’ve been able to achieve.”
“Being by yourself… as humans, we are meant to connect and be with each other, and being on your own all that time is really challenging.”
The Princess, a patron of Chandi’s challenge, also attempted pulling two tyres attached to
a harness, which Chandi practised on Derby’s roads ahead of her expedition to simulate the weight of her sledge, which weighed 120 kg.
The royal told students at the college that Chandi “has been a huge inspiration to me and it’s been great to see her journey and what she has been able to achieve in the year she has been
working towards this incredible goal. I really hope it inspires you all to believe in yourself, to push boundaries and to really work on your own resilience, because there are such strong messages that really help support your emotional and mental well-being,” she said.
Chandi, 33, trekked 13-15 hours daily during her polar journey, in the face of temperatures dipping to as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius.
The physiotherapist joined the Army Reserves at 19 and the regular Army at 27. Polar Preet, as she is popularly known, said the challenge was physically “very difficult, but mentally it was a whole different ball game.”
“When you’re looking into nothingness, it is tough to keep going,” Chandi, who is based in Buckinghamshire, said.
“It was hard, it was cold, it was frustrating, but I thought about the ‘why’ and that helped me.”
Chandi had completed a solo 1,127-km (700-mile) trek to the South Pole in 40 days last year, becoming the first woman of colour to do so.