Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Daley Safely Negotiates the Preliminaries in Rome; Diving

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Daley Safely Negotiates the Preliminaries in Rome; Diving

Article excerpt

TOM Daley safely negotiated the preliminaries of the 10-metre platform at the World Championships in Rome.

The 15-year-old finished in fifth with 475.80points, 39.95 behind leader Qiu Bo, the Chinese athlete who beat Daley to the World Junior title last September by just two points.

However, team-mate Max Brick failed to progress, finishing 29th after an inconsistent set of dives, including a disastrous fourth round when his left foot slipped on take-off. Although he made a valiant attempt to recover, he could not pull out in time and entered the water at an awkward angle.

That error left the Southampton athlete 33rd out of 37 competitors and although he posted far better dives in the two subsequent rounds, his score of 354 points was nowhere near enough to make the top 18 and move into the semis.

Daley, the senior European champion, has been training in Rome since July 10 and he was just relieved to have started his programme.

He said: "It was a steady performance. I'm glad I've got it out of the way. I've been waiting for a long time to do this world championship. We have been out here for a long time so it's good to get out and compete.

"It wasn't anything special but I'm saving that for tomorrow."

The Plymouth diver was one of 36 divers attempting to qualify yesterday which made for a long programme, notable for a number of inconsistent performances by Daley's competitors.

Daley, though, insists he did not pay too much attention to what they were doing, saying: "In the prelims you are very much on your own because it's such a long competition.

"It can get very boring if you sit there and watch all the diving so I go and sit in a cool room and play games on my phone or listen to music and forget about the diving and get myself psyched about 10 divers before and get back in the zone again."

A stiff breeze and traffic which was both visible and audible failed to distract the teenager, who has grown at least 10 centimetres since the Beijing Olympics last year.

Daley will perform the same set of dives throughout the competition, although his coach Andy Banks revealed they would be increasing the degree of difficulty after the competition. Currently he has a relatively low tariff of difficulty, but Banks retained the dives Daley completed in Beijing to attain consistency and consolidate after the Games.

Banks said: "He wants to get in the mix and if any of the others wobble he could be. There are seven or eight divers who could make the rostrum."

Daley has now moved to Plymouth College following a difficult time at his previous school where he became a target for some of his fellow students.

Banks fully believes the move has benefited Daley, who will take his GCSEs next year, with his new school set up to accommodate the needs of elite sports students. …

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