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Five 'ice queens' will be selected to join an expedition mission to Antartica where they will plant a new time capsule. (Bernama photo)

SHAH ALAM: Five 'ice queens' will be selected to join an expedition mission to Antartica where they will plant a new time capsule.

This will mark Malaysia's first group of women to traverse the South Pole.

Set to take place December next year, the group will also retrieve an old time capsule buried by polar expeditor Dr Sharifah Mazlina Syed Abdul Kadir in 2004.

Sharifah Mazlina who will also lead the All Women Expedition to Antarctica (AWETA), said she hopes the capsule which contains a message from Malaysia's fifth Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will be revealed to the public.

"After succesfully planting the time capsule in an Antarctica mission 14 years ago, I want Malaysians to retrieve it and bring it home on or before 2020.

"It must be done soon as the location where the time capsule was planted is close to a United States of America research centre and I am worried it might enter their area.

"If my mission with the five ice queens is successful, they will plant a new capsule which may contain a message from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for a certain duration of time," she said at a press conference, here, today.

Also present is AWETA project director Datuk Noorizah Abdul Hamid.

Touching on the search for the five 'ice queens', Sharifah Mazlina said it has now entered the last phase with eight finalists.

The official selection of five will be made in January next year.

"Those selected will then go through intensive training in Norway and New Zealand before embarking on a mission to cross Antarctica for 550km with a temperature as low as minus 68 degrees celcius," she informed.

Meanwhile, Sharifah Mazlina expressed her delight that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has agreed to be made AWETA patron.

An official meeting will be held soon with Wan Azizah to brief her on the progress of the mission.

On funding for the mission, Noorizah said they are still attempting to raise funds and one such effort is the 2018 Antarctica XFit Burden Run to be held on Dec 2 at Ara Damansara.

"We are targetting for some 3,000 participants in two categories; 5km fun run and 13km where participants will carry weight (burden) halfway through.

Registration for the men and women categories can be done via the RacexAsia's website before Nov 15, she informed.

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