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Shylla Duhaney and Paige Zima have been named the winners of this year’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, having come out on top in the show’s first ever all-female final. Watch their last challenge here:
They were two of four female recruits to make it to the last stage of the gruelling training programme, making history as the first all-female finalists in the seven-year history of the show.
Up until now, only one woman has completed the course before, after Lou McCullough took part in 2019.
Shylla, Paige, Claire and Cat were the only recruits to make it through after being questioned by a specialist team of interrogators – the most feared phase of the course – having been held in stress positions, buried alive and thrown in water tanks to force a confession.
The series then concluded with a final ‘Hang Tough’ challenge, with recruits forced to hang from two bars suspended 50 metres over the ground, using their upper body strength to hold themselves up.
Shylla was the last woman hanging, with Paige dropping moments before to come second in the task.
While Rudy Reyes told the four finalists they had ‘all excelled’, the directing staff named Shylla and Paige as the two who had passed the course.
Shylla – who was recruit number 18 – said she ‘learnt so much’ about herself from the experience, adding: “Ultimately my biggest take away was that I’m actually a lot stronger than I could have ever imagined, not physically but mentally. That I am more capable than I ever allow myself to believe and how much of my own worst enemy I had been to myself before this experience.”
The 33-year-old from Slough believes she managed to get to the final because she was ‘proving something’ to herself.
"I didn’t believe I would do well but I made sure I didn’t stop or give up. I’ve always been my worst enemy and championed myself. I wanted to prove myself and push past my fears, my own self beliefs and negative talk and actually prove how mentally strong I am because I struggle with my mental health in general. I also wanted prove I am good enough and stronger than I give myself credit for and I really wanted to see how well I could do in interrogation.”
As for why the women got so far, postwoman and semi-pro footballer Shylla said: “I believe we ultimately got further than the men because women have a deeper resilience. For me, for every task or day, I just kept taking each step one at a time and didn’t stop.”
Recruit number 8, Paige, explained how the show has helped her channel her 'feelings into fuel in any given situation', having faced various mental health challenges within her family over the years – most notably, her father’s suicide in 2018.
The 26-year-old Forensic Science student from Durham said: "I discovered I can be vulnerable and its ok to be so. From opening up I was able to appreciate the help and opinions of others more, helping me progress as an individual. I became more aware. Attention to detail is key, each little thought or action has a reaction, choose wisely. Most of all I learnt I am capable, I am able to achieve anything I set my mind to and the only limitation is myself."
She believes she landed herself in the final because she is able to 'channel physical and mental pain into fuel', which helped drive her forward.
"I really thrived in that environment," Paige said.
While former SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton recently sparked speculation that he was unhappy about the all-female finale - having tweeted: "The woke patrol have finally taken control and not even hiding it" alongside a GIF from the show - Paige thinks it 'highlights a shift in generational thinking in a positive way'.
She said: "Women are now encouraged and enabled to be strong, empowered and in dominant positions, whereas men are now encouraged to be in touch with their emotions.
"Men now realise they don’t always have to be alpha and upfront and proving points to other people and the guys on the show really showed that they put their physical and mental wellbeing first and chose to leave the course when they felt they had achieved everything they needed to."
Catch up on SAS: Who Dares Wins on All4 now.
Featured Image Credit: Channel 4
Topics: TV and Film
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