First Indian woman skier to South Pole gets award

New Delhi, Feb 4 ( Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu, who became the first Indian woman to ski to the South Pole last year, will be given a Rs.5-lakh award by the Delhi government, an official statement said Thursday.

“The city Government will honour Reena Kaushal Dharmashaktu with an award of Rs.5 lakh (Rs.500,000) in a function to be organised in near future for her feat of skiing from the coast of Antarctica to the geographic South Pole,” the statement said.

“The award is in recognition of her adventurous effort,” it added.

The decision was taken in a meeting headed by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Delhi-based Dharmashaktu, a 38-year-old mountaineer and outdoor instructor, was part of an all-women expedition that skied for nearly eight-nine hours daily for 40 days, braving chilly winds, sub-zero temperatures, the vast emptiness of Antarctica and carried 80 kg of load on their backs to reach the South Pole Dec 31, 2009.

The cost of her venture was around Rs.10 lakh (Rs.1 million).

Unable to raise sufficient funds, Dharmshaktu had to take a loan of Rs.5.75 lakh from a bank and borrowed the rest from friends.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth, the team of eight women from Britain, Brunei, Cyprus, Ghana, India, Jamaica, New Zealand and Singapore were selected for the expedition.