SIX-TIME world champion Mark Foster believes Belper’s Ross Davenport can be among a medal-winning relay squad at London 2012 – but only if he concentrates on his individual swimming in the meantime.
Davenport put a disappointing 2010 – the 27-year-old failed to defend either of his Commonwealth Games titles in Delhi – behind him earlier this year with an impressive display at the British Championships.
Davenport’s 200m gold in Manchester was also enough to book him a spot on the plane to Shanghai for the last major international meet pre London 2012 – the World Championships.
With eight-time Beijing Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps just one of Davenport’s rivals in the highly competitive 200m Foster believes the Derby ace’s individual London hopes are slim.
But the four-time Olympian insists only by focusing on his solitary activities will he stand a chance of collective gold in the capital – in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
“Ross is looking good and he had a great British Championships and it was good to see him racing well and back to his best there,” said Foster – speaking on behalf of Lloyds TSB, who are inviting you to nominate someone who has made a difference in their local community to carry the Olympic Flame.
“I am sure he is looking forward to the World Championships this summer and it is definitely an exciting time for the 4x200m team.
“I think that is the best chance for Ross and some of the other guys in the 200m because there is so much talent in the individual event that it is going to be very difficult to challenge for a medal in the individual.
“I think he’d be looking to get into the 200m final and that would be a good achievement at London 2012 but the relay, with him in, is going to be a good chance of a medal.
“Ross doesn’t need to concentrate or worry about the relay because it is an individual swim, ultimately, so he needs to concentrate on himself and then hopefully he can be in there challenging for a medal.”
The GB squad are not known for their prowess in the 4 x 200m relay – their last medal was bronze at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
But Foster believes with a few tweaks Davenport and the current crop can end 28 years of hurt in the capital next year.
“It’s going to be difficult for them in London because there are lots of great relay teams from around the world and the British team will all need to be on top of their game,” added Foster.
“In the past we have had a good couple of swimmers in the team but have struggled to get a full four and that is what we will need for London.”
To nominate yourself or someone else to be a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer with Lloyds TSB, visit www.lloydstsb.com/carrytheflame. Nominations close on 12 September. Terms and Conditions apply.