Jamaican Women selected for International Expedition to South Pole

LONDON – The Commonwealth Women’s Antarctic Expedition, has selected two Jamaican women to bid for a place on an all-female expedition skiing to the South Pole next year.

Kim-Marie Spence and Alecia Maragh, have been chosen to go on to the next selection phase, a two-week training camp in Scandinavia, to take place at the end of February next year. Some 25 women from Jamaica applied to join the team but a short-list of just 10 candidates were interviewed by expedition leader, Felicity Aston, in Kingston.

The woman eventually selected to join the expedition team will become the first Jamaican to ski to the South Pole. A release from the Commonwealth Women’s Antarctic Expedition said neither candidate has any previous expedition or cold-weather experience but 30 year old Kim-Marie has travelled widely, volunteering in places such as Japan, Israel and India. By taking part in the expedition Kim-Marie hopes to convince other Jamaicans “that they have no limits”. A keen long-distance runner, she wants to “publicise the strength of women and their ability to achieve physically”.

Meanwhile, 21 year old Alecia Maragh from Spanish Town,St. Catherine, who recently completed a degree in Political Science and International Relations, said the expedition offers the opportunity for personal development in a most unconventional way.

It will allow the merging and mixing of cultures and I want to be that cultural ambassador for my country,” she said when asked why she wanted to participate in the expedition.

The expedition will see an eight-woman team representing the Commonwealth countries of Cyprus, Ghana, India, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand, Jamaica, and the United Kingdom, ski more than 500 miles across the icy wastes of Antarctica to reach the South Pole on New Year’s Day 2010.

The 30 to 40 day journey will involve sleeping in tents on the ice in temperatures down to 30°C, pulling sledges full of food, fuel and equipment weighing 80kg, battling through vicious snowstorms and avoiding treacherous crevasses hidden beneath the snow surface. (JIS)

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