Sucheta first Indian woman to cross Gobi desert

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Pune: In a feat that can boost the spirit of adventure among Indian women, 33-year-old Sucheta from Pune, has successfully crossed the arduous 1000 mile (1623 km) stretch of the Gobi desert, the largest in Asia and the fifth largest in the world, in a multi-national expedition.

The wiry enthusiast who was part of a 13-member team led by Ripley Davenport, accomplished the expedition on July 15, nine days before the stipulated 60 day deadline, braving rigours and heat of the sands in Mongolia. Only seven of the 13 stayed and lasted the course, Sucheta Kadethankar being one of the three successful women trekkers along with one each from Australia and Singapore.

"The main challenge in crossing the Gobi was how to keep oneself motivated to complete the mission. In contrast to the visual appetite one gets while on a mountain expedition with a changing scenario at every step, you are confronted by the monotonous sight of an unending stretch of sand in a desert trek," said Sucheta.

She walked an average 32/25 km per day after setting out on the expedition on May 25 from the north of the Khongoryn Els, the landmark sand dunes in Mongolia along with the teammates and of course camels, the ship of desert carrying provisions.

Six of them opted out of the expedition due to either injuries or of their own volition.

"As expected we encountered extreme weather – hot days and cold nights – and sand storms during our journey. But there was also the most pleasant sight of an oasis that seemed to make up for the rigours of the trek momentarily," Sucheta, who is supposed to be the first Indian woman to have crossed the great desert in a record time, said.

The other expedition members were drawn from Australia, England, Scotland, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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