University of Portsmouth student swaps lecture theatre for special forces selection on SAS Who Dares Wins

A RESEARCH student is beaming with pride despite having been pushed to her limit and beyond in a gruelling process for the TV show SAS Who Dares Wins.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 10:23 am

The University of Portsmouth’s Shakiba Moghadam, 27, was among 25 recruits picked from 7,000 applicants for the Channel 4 Show.

Shakiba had to endure diving backwards into the sea, running across the Sottish Highlands with a 20kg rucksack and being ‘immersed’ into the icy North Atlantic to replicate the feeling of drowning.

Speaking to The News, Shakiba said: ‘Everyday the course became tougher - we were sleep deprived and survived on 800 calories a day. I wanted to see what my breaking point was.

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The University of Portsmouth's Shakiba Moghadam, 27, was among 25 recruits picked from 7,000 applicants for the Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins. Picture: Sarah Standing (210120-4283)

‘I thought I would find it but what I actually discovered is that I have a new breaking point – we are capable of enduring far more than we think.

‘It has taught me not to have boundaries. I applied for the position of research assistant at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies and got the job.

‘Before the show I simply wouldn’t have gone for it as I wouldn’t have thought I would get it. The course has really taught me not to put restrictions on myself.’

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The University of Portsmouth's Shakiba Moghadam, 27, was among 25 recruits picked from 7,000 applicants for the Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins. Picture: Sarah Standing (210120-5505)

Originally from Tehran, Shakiba moved to England with her parents in 2002. Her father served in the Iranian Army during the 1980s conflict with Iraq.

‘My father suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) since the war and taking part in this show was a way of trying to relate in a small way to what he may have experienced,’ she said.

During the series, recruits are woken at night before having their heads covered in a mask and taken for interrogation.

Shakiba said: ‘The show really opened up closed wounds to do with my dad. They really delve deep down into your inner conscience.’

The course is hosted by ex-special forces soldier Ant Middleton.

Along with fellow instructors, Jason Fox, Matthew Ollerton and Colin Maclachlan, he can often be seen shouting at the recruits and ‘beasting’ them through a series of gruelling challenges.

Shakiba commented: ‘I think you have to have that harsh mentality to be in their industry but they are all really nice and want to help. I got on really well with Ant who is a genuine, caring guy. I think he appreciated that I’m a trier and just wanted to give my best.’

The 11-day course is designed to give recruits an insight into the SAS recruitment process.

Shakiba said: ‘We just got a glimpse – I think the real process is much harder as it lasts for six months.

‘I’m so proud of what I achieved. It was emotionally challenging but I found the hardest part was returning to normality after it finished,’

The show airs on Sundays at 9pm and there are three episodes remaining.