Mother’s pride as Ross goes for a medal

NBEN 21-07-12 BE 4 Cheering Belpers Ross Davenport are parents Debbie and Paul Davenport.
NBEN 21-07-12 BE 4 Cheering Belpers Ross Davenport are parents Debbie and Paul Davenport.

The mother of Belper Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport has spoken of the family’s anticipation as she prepares to watch her son take on the world’s finest swimmers.

Debbie Davenport and husband Paul have poolside tickets to cheer Ross on in his first heat of the 4x200m freestyle relay at London 2012 on July 31.

The 53-year-old will be catching an early train after leaving her home in Belper that morning to be there on time and is hoping that this year will be the one that earns Ross a place in the history books.

In 2004, he narrowly missed out in Athens when he finished fourth and was also denied four years later in Beijing in the 200 m freestyle as well as the 100m and 200m freestyle relay.

If the GB relay team get through their first heat the final will then be held that afternoon at the Aquatics Centre - one of the permanent venues which has specially constructed for the Games.

Debbie said: “This is the third time he has been involved in the Games and we just keep thinking ‘ wouldn’t it be nice,’ our fingers are most definitely crossed.

“Hopefully he will make it to the final – who knows? But as long as he does his best he’s going to be a winner anyway in my eyes.”

“A lot of people have been asking about him. The support from the people of Belper has been very good and I know it means a lot to him. He’s very grateful and gratified.”

Last week Ross’ old Beaver group, the 1st Openwoodgate Beavers sent Ross messages of support. And this week pupils at Herbert Strutt Primary were waving banners.

Ross, 28, started at Belper School in 1995 and returned in 2006 to show staff and students the two gold medals and silver he had won at the Melbourne Commonwealth games.

He took his first steps to the Olympics as a member of the Marlin Swimming Club in Belper.

His first win in the swimming pool came at the age of eight after he started swimming because his older brother, Ashley, could swim.

However, he now has a much more intensive fitness regime.

Mrs Davenport continued: “He has worked very hard and is so dedicated.

“Every day he does four hours training in the morning and in the afternoon - about four to four and a half hours of that is swimming.

“This week, after settling into the Olympic village for a few days he travelled up to Edinburgh for four to five days of training and fine tuning .”

And it could be Ross’ last chance for Olympic glory - as he revealed in a blog that it could be the last time he competes in the Games.

He said: “ From a very early age my ultimate ambition was to stand on the podium at an Olympic games. I can almost guarantee that London 2012 will be my last Olympics, so this marks the last chance to realise my dream.

“Olympic gods will have to be smiling on us, but with a 17,500 partisan crowd and the backing of a great nation, anything is possible.”

You can send your messages of support to Ross by ‘liking’ his Facebook page.