Tennis legend Martina Navratilova embarked Monday on her attempt to summit Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, a charity helping disadvantaged youth worldwide through sports-based projects.
The nine-time Wimbledon champion is joined on the challenge by a group of 27 fundraisers, including German Paralympic cyclist Michael Teuber and British Olympic badminton star Gail Emms.
Ascending via the Rongai Route, it is expected to take six to seven days to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, which at 19,340 feet is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
"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," Navratilova said as the team was about to depart. "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."
Navratilova, 54, finished radiotherapy treatment in June after having been diagnosed with breast cancer in April.
Fans can follow the team's progress via The Laureus Blog, where Navratilova will be issuing daily blog posts, as well as by subscribing to receive e-mail updates.
Added Navratilova: "I am really pleased to be joined on the climb by a team of international fundraisers, and I hope everyone will support us by donating at www.laureus.com."
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Martina Navratilova embarks on her attempt to summit Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro. Navratilova and her team are climbing Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Chris Jackson / Getty Images for Laureus