SEPANG, Jan 9 -- National icon Dr Sharifah Mazlina Syed Abdul Kadir's dream to bring female proteges to conquer the Antarctic was successfully realised through the All Women Expedition to Antarctica (AWETA) mission which ended Dec 31.
The mission that involved selecting three women named 'ice queens' was achieved through a special programme after a successful 110-kilometre ski trip which began at South Pole Base Camp.
Sharifah Mazlina said that although the main mission of the expedition to bring home the capsule she had planted in Antarctica in 2004 was unsuccessful, she was proud to have found a group of proteges to carry on her mission she had been dreaming of since she set foot on the world's southernmost continent.
"The mission has several goals, to find proteges, to bring home the 2004 capsule and to plant a 2030 time capsule called 'Semangat Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad', but the last two goals could not be achieved due to landscape changes and security concerns.
“But I am still grateful and proud that the mission has given birth to three new ice queens to continue my legacy to prove that women can do something extraordinary for the country as well," she told reporters shortly after arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today.
The three ice queens are pharmacist Nurul Atiqah Tamarun, 31, a member of the Malaysian Army Corporal Siti Jumaidah Bensali, 34, and Home Ministry administrative and diplomatic officer Salehah Abu Nor, 33.
They were selected after successfully undergoing various mental and physical endurance tests set by AWETA and beating 1,000 other hopefuls.
On the failure to bring the capsule she had planted in 2004, Sharifah Mazlina said one of the reasons why the capsule was not located was that it had been buried under 30 feet of snow in addition to landscape changes.
Syarifah Mazlina said after the mission to the South Pole ended, she would now focus on women empowerment programmes through the now-widely-recognised AWETA platform.
She also launched an e-book travelogue on the search for an ice queen in Antarctica called 'Semangat Membara di Puncak Membeku' which contained visuals and notes throughout the mission that began on Dec 24.