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    Mariam Hamed Ferdous

    Saudi Ice Diver: 'I Wanted to Prove That Arab Women Can Achieve The Impossible'

    © Photo : Mariam Hamed Ferdous
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    A Saudi woman – Mariam Hamed Ferdous – has set a Guinness World Record after becoming the first Arab woman to dive in the North and South Poles. She spoke to Sputnik about her experience.

    Physician Mariam Ferdous is fond of many things, like hunting and environmental protection, but most of all, she likes diving.

    "First diving helped me to relieve stress from studying at the medical faculty, which I started in Jeddah in 2008," Ferdous told Sputnik. She fell in love with this sport, because it helps a person develop, because it requires high concentration, attention, agility and strength; plus it is an excellent opportunity to admire the beauty of the universe.

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    "For a long time I dreamed of diving in the North Pole, because, first, I wanted to prove to myself and others that you can achieve the impossible by perseverance and determination; secondly, to show that all women, and Saudi women in particular, have the will power; thirdly, I wanted to draw attention to the issue of global warming. The Arctic is melting and the responsibility lies with our civilization and on every person. In addition, I took part in a British Brighton University study on physiological changes in women under extreme conditions," Mariam Ferdous explained.

    Diving Difficulties

    In 2015, Mariam went diving in the Arctic Ocean. In 2016 — at the North Pole, and in 2018 — the South Pole. "I had to learn a specialized technique of diving in the northern waters. There are difficulties and you need to learn how to dive in such a harsh climate. For example, it is important to monitor the polynya so that it does not overgrow with ice. When underwater you always need to keep the polynya in sight; these are the basics of safety."

    • Mariam Hamed Ferdous
      Mariam Hamed Ferdous
      © Photo : Mariam Hamed Ferdous
    • Mariam Hamed Ferdous
      Mariam Hamed Ferdous
      © Photo : Mariam Hamed Ferdous
    • Mariam Hamed Ferdous
      Mariam Hamed Ferdous
      © Photo : Mariam Hamed Ferdous
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    © Photo : Mariam Hamed Ferdous
    Mariam Hamed Ferdous

    Ferdous also spoke of the difficult living conditions in the Arctic:

    "There was a limited amount of food and the food was completely unusual for me. Another issue was my studies at university, which I did not stop. It was necessary to keep up with the studies together with the training regime. I also had to find warm clothes in advance and special equipment for the North [Pole], there's not a lot of good [equipment] in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Dr. Mariam said.

    The Dream

    "My goal is to show the whole world that a woman, whether she is from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, can realize her dreams. A woman can overcome all problems and difficulties if she truly wants something," Ferdous concluded.

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    diver, woman, Saudi Arabia
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