Ross resists calls for him to extend career

Ross Davenport after the Mens 200m Freestyle during the British Gas Swimming Championships at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday March 5, 2012. See PA story SWIMMING London. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Ross Davenport after the Mens 200m Freestyle during the British Gas Swimming Championships at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday March 5, 2012. See PA story SWIMMING London. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
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Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport has admitted that some people have expressed surprise at his decision to end his glittering swimming career.

The former Belper School pupil announced his intention to step down from the sport last week at the age of 28.

And after thanking local people for their support over the years, he said there have been those who have since suggested he may be stepping down too young.

Speaking to the Belper News, he said: “Some people are surprised but it’s not something I have done lightly.

“I know I have made the right decision. There are people who continue over the age of 28, but I know that now is the right time for me.

“My parents have 100 per cent supported me as they have done throughout my career. It wasn’t an issue.

“I need to get on with my life now.

“I think I am at that stage where it is time to move on the next chapter.

“I didn’t want to look back in 20 years and say I hung on too long and drifted out of the sport through the back door.

“There is going to be a time where you just have to say, enough is enough.

“Over the years it’s always been great to have the backing of your home town and Belper has been amazing.

“It’s not impossible, but it does make it a lot harder if you don’t have that support. It has given me great motivation to succeed throughout my swimming career.”

With three Olympics under his belt, a BBC East Midlands Sports Personality of the Year award and two Commonwealth Games Gold medals, Ross has proven himself against the best competitors in the world over the years.

However, as a six-year-old making his first waves in a Belper pool, the Olympics were the furthest thing from his mind.

As his confidence grew – along with his talent – it became evident that Belper had a real star in the making on its hands.

But without parents Debbie and Paul dropping him off at the pool at 5am on school days, none of that would have been possible.

“When I started out at Belper Marlin I never thought I would get the chance to compete in three Olympic Games,” Ross said.

“It’s been a dream career, I never thought when I was six that I would make it as far as I have.

“I’m a normal guy that worked very hard and got to the top of his profession.

“Any youngsters in Belper should know that as long as you work hard, are dedicated and give it 100 per cent effort you can achieve it.”

Ross will now turn his attention to coaching, both with his home club, City of Derby, as well as running swim skills courses.

“I want to start giving back to the next generation,” he said.

And in four weeks time, on December 22, he will wed his girlfriend Claire during a ceremony in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire after proposing to her during a trip to Paris last November.

He added: “It wasn’t one of the factors that affected my decision to finish my career.”