Mountaineer Loveraj Singh Dharmshaktu is on top of the world. His wife, Reena Kaushal became the first Indian women to unfurl the national flag at the South Pole.
She and six women from the Commonwealth countries reached the South Pole on the New Year eve after successfuly completing a grueling 900 kms skiing expedition. When it was flagged off from the coast of Antarctica on November 22, there was no doubt in Loveraj Singh’s mind that her wife would do it. And she made it in 38 days.
The team covered 495 nautical miles (900 kms) skiing across one of the most climatically and terrain-wise hostile places on earth. Sometimes they had to ski ten hours a day, pulling sledges weighing 80 kilograms. Braving chilling winds and sub-zero temperatures, the team finally made it to the South Pole on 31st December.
“It's not an easy task and I am feeling proud to see my wife do such an extraordinary thing,” Lovevraj Singh told Hindustan Times over phone. After spending six days on the South Pole the team (two members from the United Kingdom and one each from Cyprus, Bruei, Darussala, New Zealand and Singapore) would return to London on Tuesday.
Eagerly awaiting her arrival, Loveraj has planned out more adventure sporting activity. “We both plan to groom kids in adventure sports at Munsyari in Uttarakhand,” he said. She is expected to return to India in the second week of this month.
She had little or no idea that her life would take such a turn when she had applied to become a member of the Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition team. Exposure and experience to mountaineering and to the elements was something she had aplenty.
Reena had participated in several mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas, he said. She would love to encourage more and more women to take to adventure sports and outdoor careers like her. Reena is a freelance trainer in mountaineering.
Although she was successful, Loveraj said her journey was not easy. They had to run from pillar to post for sponsorship. The sports ministry had denied any financial help taking the plea that it did not have any provision to support adventure activities, he claimed.
“Barring Bajaj and Indian Mountaineering Federation, no one came forward to help,” he said.