Navratilova set to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro
Originally published on: 09/12/10 15:58
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova is currently battling through blizzards and freezing conditions in an attempt to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The 54-year-old is now 1,565 metres from reaching the summit, where she hopes to hit tennis balls off the top, all in aid of raising money for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
“I’ve been planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro since early this year, even before my breast cancer diagnosis, so it feels really great to finally be underway,” said Navratilova before heading off on the epic climb.
The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of the year but after undergoing an operation in March and radiation therapy in June, she was given the all clear.
“I’m feeling well prepared for the challenge, and although I’m sure we’ll all be in for a tough few days of climbing, I am determined to reach the summit,” admitted the courageous Navratilova.
“I know I’m in good enough shape to get to the top, but will the altitude get me? That’s something you can’t predict until you get there.”
The American has joined a group of 27 fundraisers, including the British Olympic badminton star Gail Emms and German Paralympian cyclist Michael Teuber.
Now on her third day of travelling up the highest mountain in Africa, Navratilova has noted in her daily blog posts how much of a struggle it has been with the altitude and the freezing weather conditions.
“We have to fight our way through blizzards and cope with unexpected bitter cold,” said Navratilova yesterday. “The snow is not settling on the ground, thank goodness, but still the conditions are very difficult and unpleasant.”
After everything she has gone through, the enthusiasm for tennis – having only retired from the game in 2006 – still remains strong, since she has promised to hit balls off the mountain’s peak.
“I’m bringing one racket and I’ll hit a few balls from the top to see how far they can travel,” said Navratilova. “With the air being that thin they should go a long way.”
To make a donation or to find out more about the Laureus Project, go to www.laureus.com