Belper Swimmer Ross Davenport set to race in the Olympics

Belper has its best chance for Olympic glory in living memory as swimmer Ross Davenport prepares to go for a medal.

The former Belper School pupil carries the sporting hopes of the entire town on his shoulders as he makes last minute preparations for the 4x200 metre men’s freestyle relay today Tuesday, July 31.

At around 11am the starting gun will sound on his last chance for glory at the Games, after he announced he is to step down from Olympic competition following London 2012.

This week dozens of people across the town have been inundating the swimmer with messages of support as he familiarises himself with the the Olympic village in prepartion for the big day.

His former coach, at Belper Marlin Swimming Club Jeff Pickering said: “I just hope he will come away with a medal – it’s a big thing and a fine way to end his career.

“He was always a very good freestyle swimmer from the age of six or seven. One night after training, when Ross was about 10 his dad said Ross wanted to swim at the Olympics and asked if it could happen. I thought it was another pushy parent, but credit where credit’s due – it proves anything is possible. He’s done exceptionally well and worked tremendously hard and he really deserves to do well.”

Belper Mayor Mark Robertson said: “I wish him all the very best. He’s got a good chance and will hopefully come home with a medal. He’s worked hard even to get to this stage.

“He’s supported the town for many years and I hope everybody gets behind him.”

l See page two, three and back page for more on Ross.