Tom Daley opens season with 10 metre platform gold
TOM Daley claimed 10 metre platform gold at the British Gas Diving Championships as he enjoyed a comfortable start to a season in which he will attempt to regain his world title.
The 18-year-old easily retained his national title in front of a sell-out crowd at his home pool in Plymouth.
Tickets for yesterday’s event sold out in just ten minutes and while the star attraction had suffered from a cold in the lead-up, Daley was never tested in his first competition of the year as he posted 501.00.
While that was short of his very best, half of his six-dive list did attract scores above 90, in an early-season hit-out to shed the rust of an off-season in which he co-presented ITV programme Splash!, a show aired on Saturday nights in which competing celebrities were coached by Daley.
“It wasn’t too bad a start to the season. Both my performances were over 500 which is all I can ask for really,” Daley said.
“I’ve been trying to overcome a chest and throat infection to compete here and it could’ve been a little bit better.
“There are a few tweaks I can make and hopefully it will come together later in the season.”
Daley will bid to regain his world title in Barcelona this summer.
He became Great Britain’s youngest-ever world champion when he won the 10 metre platform as a 15-year-old in Rome four years ago.
Fierce rival Qiu Bo snatched back the title two years ago and after a titanic Olympic final last year – when both were edged out by American David Boudia – a rematch is already on Daley’s mind.
“To get the world title back would be the ultimate dream this season. That would be amazing,” he said.
“But it’s about working on consistency because everyone is learning lots of harder, new dives.
“The year after the Olympics is always a bit up in the air because no-one knows who could come through and win the competition, so it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.”
With Pete Waterfield absent from yesterday’s competition, the veteran’s diving future remaining in doubt after a decision to cut his funding, Daley claimed victory by a mammoth 126.10 points.
City of Leeds’ James Denny won silver with 16-year-old Daniel Goodfellow, earmarked to be Daley’s synchro partner in the future, taking bronze.
Edinburgh Diving Club’s Grace Reid won her first senior title and denied Alicia Blagg a hat-trick of gold medals at the weekend in the women’s three-metre springboard.
Reid, 16, edged out her London Olympian rival by just 3.65 points, with Becky Gallantree – who had won the past four titles – settling for bronze.
“I’ve been to a few internationals so I know how to cope and my coach definitely helped me through it,” Reid said, “but I was shaking at the end.”
And Reid admitted afterwards that reducing the difficulty of her dive list for the final had helped her confidence at the business end of the competition.
“The tension was building up through the rounds and there was a lot of pressure on that last round,” added the Scot.
“I’ve been to a few internationals so I know how to cope and my coach definitely helped me through it, but I was shaking at the end.
“This morning I was doing a couple of harder dives, but we decided to change that for this final and it’s worked in my favour.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work like that in sport, but it’s paid off for me today.”
Yona-Knight Wisdom and Matthew Roberts won gold in the men’s three-metre synchro competition.
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