Could YOU cut it as an SAS member? One of the UK’s only females to train with world's most elite army reveals what the selection process is REALLY like (including DAYS without sleep)

  • Azi Ahmed was one of the country's only women who spent a year training
  • She spoke to Cosmopolitan about what exactly the training entails
  • Included 40-mile marches, eating sheep dropping and days without sleep?

As one of the most elite units of any army in the world, members of The Special Air Service are pushed to their physical and emotional limits.

In order to be accepted, the candidates have to pass a number of gruelling tests and exercises during a five-week long selection process that is held twice per year in Sennybridge in Brecon Beacons.?

From about 200 pre-selected candidates, only about 30 pass the selection process. So could you?

Azi Ahmed, 45, from Rochdale, who was one of the country's only women who spent a year training to become an SAS reservist as part of a special one-off programme that included ladies, spoke to?Cosmopolitan about what exactly the training entails.?

Azi Ahmed, 45, from Rochdale,  was one of the country's only women who spent a year training to become an SAS reservist. She discussed the kind of training she endured?

Azi Ahmed, 45, from Rochdale, was one of the country's only women who spent a year training to become an SAS reservist. She discussed the kind of training she endured?

WHAT IS THE SAS??

The Special Air Service (SAS) is the British Army's most renowned special forces unit. From the moment several black-clad figures appeared on the balconies of the Iranian Embassy in London in 1980, the Special Air Service became 'celebrities' both at home and oversees. Their motto, 'Who Dares Wins', has become part of British popular culture.?

The S.A.S. has carried out many operations over the years, including everything from counter-terrorist assaults in the glare of the media spotlight to covert operations in Northern Ireland.?

The SAS are currently deployed to Iraq (with the SBS assigned to Afghanistan). It's reported that the SAS Squadron in Iraq is operating as part of 'Task Force Black' - the British contingent of US-led Task Force 88, tasked with hunting down Al-Qaeda leaders in the country.?

The fitness: Azi explained that trainees are required to carry out a gruelling physical assessment, including marching for 40 miles and sprinting with 20kg on their back.

She said that her first assault course required her to climb a 10ft wall, rope-swing over a 20ft drop, and crawl through barbed wire and pitch-black tunnels.?

If that wasn't bad enough, she revealed she was screamed at to go faster the entire time and then made to do it again, as well as 80 push-ups.

The strength test: Azi was forced to push a parked Jeep – and the two men sitting inside – to the top of a hill.?

She revealed: 'Halfway up the slope my hand slipped and I fell. The vehicle started rolling backwards.?

'I looked up, inches away from being trapped beneath one of the wheels. Luckily, one of the men heaved me up before I could get crushed.'

Battling the elements: Azi had to do her training in the blustery Brecon Beacons and had to fast-march across the top of a mountain without a safety harness.?

'She explained that the wind was so severe, she nearly fell off the edge and was forced to drop to her knees to stop herself from toppling off the sheer drop.

The 45-year-old Tory activist chronicled her attempt to join 21 SAS, the reserve regiment of the unit, in her book Worlds Apart: A Muslim Girl with the SAS. She is pictured speaking?at the Annual Conservative Party Conference

The 45-year-old Tory activist chronicled her attempt to join 21 SAS, the reserve regiment of the unit, in her book Worlds Apart: A Muslim Girl with the SAS. She is pictured speaking?at the Annual Conservative Party Conference

The food: Marches would often start at 3am and Azi was once so hungry and weak during the outing that she ate sheep dropping for energy.

The physical damage: The physical training was so harsh that Azi lost toenails and came back battered, bruised and covered in blisters.?

Describing how she felt after an assessment, she said: 'At the end I was bruised, battered and so out of breath that I thought I’d pass out.'

Azi was speaking to promote S1-5 of Strike Back on NOW TV.

Azi discussed how she had to do her training in the blustery Brecon Beacons and had to fast-march across the top of a mountain without a safety harness

Azi discussed how she had to do her training in the blustery Brecon Beacons and had to fast-march across the top of a mountain without a safety harness

Tory party activist who trained with the SAS accuses Russia of trashing her reputation by using online attacks to cast doubt on her story by?Emine Sinmaz

Azi Ahmed had told how she turned her back on an arranged marriage at the age of 26 to train with the elite squad as an ‘experiment’.

The 45-year-old Tory activist chronicled her attempt to join 21 SAS, the reserve regiment of the unit, in her book Worlds Apart: A Muslim Girl with the SAS.

At just 4ft 11in and weighing 7st, she told how she completed an eight-mile run and almost drowned in a river during training in the Brecon Beacons.

Miss Ahmed wrote: ‘I was undergoing gruelling training to join the Army. And not just any regiment, either, but the most elite of all – the SAS, who were preparing me to become one of their first female reservists.’ But last month Russia Today, a state-funded broadcaster, published an online article disputing some of her claims and she faced a torrent of online abuse.

Now Miss Ahmed, who stood in Rochdale in the 2015 election, has questioned why the article appeared on the same day Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon – whom she introduced at last year’s Tory conference – announced a crackdown on Russian cyber attacks.

Miss Ahmed, who believes the article was an attempt to discredit Sir Michael, continued to be abused on social media, with one comment saying: ‘You are a deceitful b**** ... Now **** off you lying lizard.’

Miss Ahmed, who served with the Territorial Army from 1999 until 2002, said: ‘I’ve never claimed to have carried the same weight as the men, I’ve never written anything about live firing ... I never did it.’

But a passage in her book tells of overhearing other recruits describing her as ‘a tick in the box’. It went on: ‘How dare they? I was going through the same s*** as them.

‘Carrying the same weight; I was half the size they were ... and not once had I moaned.’

The Manchester-born internet entrepreneur, who hopes to stand in the 2020 election, yesterday said the military scrapped the experiment before she completed training and that it was never explicitly confirmed she would become an SAS reservist. She said the most hurtful thing about the online abuse has been that it has come from ‘Army people’, especially as she is donating the proceeds from her book to veteran charity, Care After Combat.?


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