Ross Davenport battles injury as he prepares for 450km bike ride across Zambia
BELPER'S Olympic swimmer, Ross Davenport, says he is geared up for an epic 450km cycle ride across Zambia – despite injuries to both knees.
Rather than relax after London 2012, Ross agreed to join three other swimming stars, including four-time Olympic medallist Rebecca Adlington, on the gruelling four-day challenge.
The quartet are due to fly out to the African country on Wednesday in the hope of raising £50,000 for Sport In Action – a non-government-funded organisation that inspires change within impoverished communities.
But last night, Ross dropped the bombshell that he has not trained for the past month – insisting it will not prevent him from taking part.
He said: "My knee was very, very sore about four weeks ago and I couldn't walk much. Then my other knee went, probably because I was doing too much.
"I've done no training since. My knees feel better but I've not wanted to test them or push them. The last thing I want to do is ruin my chances of taking part.
"I'm slightly concerned about it but I'm sure that once I'm out there, the thought of the cause we're raising money for will see me through it OK.
"It's not my fitness that will be the problem. It will be the heat."
Joining Ross and Rebecca will be 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Joanne Jackson and fellow ex-Olympian, and ride organiser, Mel Marshall, who is now head coach at City of Derby Swimming Club.
The quartet will set out from Livingstone, on the edge of the Victoria Falls National Park, on Thursday.
The Bike for Africa challenge, supported by British Gas and UK Sport, should see them arrive in the capital, Lusaka, four days later.
En route they will visit a number of projects supported by UK Sport such as "Go Sisters" which empowers girls and women through sport.
Conditions will be hot and dry but there will be no creature comforts or five-star hotels. Instead, they will stay with local families.
Once in Lusaka they will give swimming lessons at a pool that has been renovated with £13,000 raised at a charity ball by Mel and where sport sits side by side with Aids education workshops in a country experiencing a HIV/Aids epidemic.
All the money the quartet raise will go towards construction of a physio wing at an Aids hospital.
The aim would be to offer patients physiotherapy and also provide sports physio in the same place in a bid to reduce the stigma attached to Aids.
To donate, visit www.just giving.com/ZambiaCycle.