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The William Harvey Research Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Queen Mary alumnus thought to be the first woman of colour to complete a solo expedition across Antarctica

Captain Preet Chandi, a Queen Mary University of London alumnus, travelled 700 miles in just 40 days, capping a remarkable achievement.


Credit: PolarPreet

Captain Chandi stated that a key motivation for the trek was wanting to undertake a task that pushed her out of her comfort zone. She said: “Nothing is impossible. I’ve always had this idea that I can achieve something great, something that allows me to be a role model. I want my 8-year-old niece to grow up without boundaries, knowing the possibilities of what you can achieve in life are endless.”

The expedition involved travelling an average of 17 miles each day in some of the harshest conditions anywhere in the world, while pulling a sledge containing all her equipment. It was made even more impressive by that fact that Captain Chandi completed it ahead of schedule – with the trip expected to take between 45 and 48 days.

Captain Chandi currently serves in the Army as a Clinical Training Officer. Her time in the Army has been balanced alongside part-time study at Queen Mary, where she completed a MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine. The degree enabled Captain Chandi to further pursue her interest in the limits of the human body from an academic perspective.

The expedition was her latest example of several notable physical achievements. Captain Chandi has previously completed marathons, ultra-marathons, and other endurance events.

Upon completing the journey, Captain Chandi said: “Feeling so many emotions right now. I knew nothing about the polar world three years ago and it feels so surreal to finally be here. It was tough getting here and I want to thank everybody for their support.

“I have been told no on many occasions and told to ‘just do the normal thing’, but we create our own normal. You are capable of anything you want.”

Professor Panos Deloukas, Director of the William Harvey Research Institute at Queen Mary University of London, said: “Everyone at Queen Mary is proud of what our former student Captain Chandi has achieved.

“She has shown the world her extraordinary ambition and resilience, and sent the inspiring message that we can achieve anything if we work hard and put our mind to it.

“I would like to congratulate her for this incredible feat – which I am sure will not be her last.”

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