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First Indian skis to North Pole

Bajaj completed his 9-day expedition from the Russian side of the Arctic.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2006 18:54 IST

Adventure sports enthusiast Ajit Bajaj on Wednesday became the first Indian to ski to the North Pole.

Bajaj, 40, completed his nine-day expedition from the Russian side of the Arctic with four skiers from the United States and one from Britain, his wife Shirley said.

"He left India on April 14 for Norway from where the team went to a Russian training camp and then they set off for the North Pole on skis," she said.

"They would ski for 10 to 11 hours a day and finally at 4.15 am Indian time my husband called me on satellite telephone to announce the team had reached their destination on the North Pole," she said.

"It's a very proud moment as he becomes the first Indian to successfully withstand such an extreme endurance test," said Bajaj, who operates an adventure sports club in India with her husband.

Bajaj, meanwhile, told a television channel by satellite phone that he had planted the Indian flag at the North Pole.

"It was a very proud moment when I unfurled the tricolour, our national flag given to me by Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma," he said.

Bajaj, a downhill ski specialist, described the cold as extreme.

"There is about a metre of ice (on the surface) and the lowest temperature has been minus 35 degrees Centigrade (-31 Fahrenheit) but with the wind chill, it can go down to about minus 70-80C (-94 to -112F).

"Its freezing up here," he added.

In dusty New Delhi, his wife sweltered in temperatures above 40C (104F).