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Navratilova Scales Bank of America Tower

NEW YORK — With just 25 days to go before her Mount Kilimanjaro challenge in Tanzania, tennis legend Martina Navratilova today climbed to the top of the Bank of America Tower in New York, to put the finishing touches to her training for her fundraising climb to the summit of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain.

The unique climb to the top of one of New York’s tallest structures saw Laureus World Sports Academy Member Martina climbing 55 flights of stairs and ascending 950ft. Martina was joined on the climb by youngsters from Camp Interactive, part of the network of Laureus Sport for Good projects.

On arrival at the top of the building, Martina was greeted by Ambassador Sefue, the permanent representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the UN.

Martina, who battled breast cancer earlier this year, will undertake her mountaineering challenge in December, leading a group of 28 climbers to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, to raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, a charity which supports community sports projects around the world which have helped to improve the lives of over one million young people.

As she reached the top of the Bank of America Tower, Martina said: “That was a tough climb! But the views from the top are well worth it. It has also proved to me that my Kilimanjaro training is going well, and I feel fit and healthy ahead of the main challenge in December.

“I made the decision to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation at the beginning of this year, and despite everything that has happened, I now have a clean bill of health and am determined to reach the summit and raise funds for Laureus. I hope everyone will support me by donating to www.laureus.com.”

Mt. Kilimanjaro is the world’s highest freestanding mountain. The expedition will ascend by the Rongai Route. It starts in a corn field before giving way to alpine forest. The climb progresses to moorlands on a gentle gradient, which then begins to increase through rolling terrain. There are some short, steep, grassy slopes to climb before leaving vegetation behind. The next section is a five kilometre wide, lunar-like desert area.

The route to the summit continues up scree slopes made up of loose rock. Once on the rim of the crater, the steep incline gives way to undulations on the way to the summit. At this point there will be ice and snow underfoot. The climb will take seven days, from December 6 - 12.

Before the climb Martina will be visiting the Laureus-supported Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) project in Nairobi - the kind of project which will benefit from funds raised during Martina’s Kilimanjaro Climb.

Based in one of the largest and poorest slums in Nairobi in which HIV/AIDS and other diseases are widespread, the project has pioneered the use of football as a tool to encourage co-operation and raise self-esteem in the young people of the community.

Each year MYSA organises thousands of matches for around 20,000 young people, playing in over 1,000 leagues. Success is measured not just by the goals scored in matches, but by the work the young people do in cleaning up the slums. MYSA has been supported by Laureus since 2000. It has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for its work.

Martina Navratilova is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique association of 46 of the greatest living sporting legends who volunteer their time to act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation whose mission is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, crime, social exclusion, landmines awareness, violence, discrimination and physical and mental health problems. Since its inception Laureus has raised over US$50 million and currently supports almost 80 sports-based projects around the world.

 

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