Meet the Match
A Pakistani Adventurer Seeks to Transform Her Country
Samar Khan is the first Pakistani woman to ride a bicycle atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, and the first woman to cycle along the 14,760 foot-high Biafo Glacier, the world’s third largest non-polar glacier. An outspoken advocate and outdoor enthusiast, she strives to transform Pakistan into a sport-positive, healthy country where girls and boys have equal access to play.
Born in the town of Khas Dir, Samar did not have much exposure to sport or physical activity growing up. Like many young Pakistani women, she found herself in an abusive marriage and working a job in a call center to make ends meet. That is when she learned about a paragliding training course being offered by the Army. Completing her paragliding certification opened Samar’s eyes to a different world. She divorced her husband and began her pursuit of empowerment for both herself and other women around Pakistan.
In 2014, Samar launched her own website, Samarkhan.pk, and began traveling across Pakistan to lead projects, seminars, and outdoor expeditions intended to train and educate people about the importance of sports activities. She is a two-time presenter at TEDx conferences in her country, and serves as a brand ambassador for several initiatives related to gender equality and environmental protection.
By participating in the GSMP, Samar has learned how she can take the empowerment she has experienced through sports and use it to increase nationwide female participation in competitive and recreational sport. In a country where cultural discrimination against women is still prominent and few female sports role models exist, Samar is maximizing her platform to normalize and elevate sport for Pakistani women.
Samar earned a M.Sc in Physics from Federal Urdu University. Outside of adventure sports activities, Samar is passionate about protecting the environment and regularly volunteers at Clean and Green Pakistan events. She also enjoy mixed martial arts training, nature walks, and fresh fruit salad and chocolate ice cream.