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Daley In At The Deep End After Dad's Death

Daley In At The Deep End After Dad's Death

9:03pm 29th June 2011
(Updated 7:02am 30th June 2011)

Britain's Olympic prodigy Tom Daley is diving back in at the deep end of sport only a few weeks after his father died from cancer.

The 17-year-old world champion shot to fame when he competed for Britain at the age of 14 in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But recently, he has been trying his hand at the likes of climbing and tennis in a new initiative called 'Get Set, Go Free' designed to get young people involved in playing sport with their families.

That is how Daley himself got involved in diving - when his late father Rob took him to the pool a decade ago.

In a statement, Daley said: "My dad has always been an influence on me doing sport.

"Without him I would not have come as far as I have. 

"It has not been an easy few months for me because of what has happened with dad, but I am just trying to focus all my attention on the upcoming World Championships as that is what he would have wanted."

Daley heads off to Shanghai at the end of the week to compete in the diving world championships.

He competes there with new partner Pete Waterfield.

Waterfield was Olympic silver medallist in Athens in 2004, and at 30 is 13 years older than Daley.

The pair recently won a world series event in Sheffield in only their second international competition together.

"Doing synchro with Pete is really good at the moment," Daley said.

"We have been training and we have got a British record very quickly within the time that we have been training.

"It is really exciting actually going into 2012 - about what we could achieve."

If the pair are to achieve success in their home Olympics next summer, Daley knows they will have to beat some of the best from China - a super-power in the world of diving.

"There are lots of reasons why the Chinese are so good at diving," he said.

"They are constantly doing it. They don't go to school in China, I think they do three hours of school a week and they are just constantly training.

"It is just incredible to think how much they train.

"So I think that is just the way that they are brought up.

"But I still have to go to school and that is what I have got to think about as well.

"The Chinese are definitely getting further and further ahead of everyone else.

"The thing with the Chinese divers is that if you put pressure on them, that is what they don't like. So you just have to try and keep on their tail as much as possible.

"Nothing is impossible. Obviously, they are always going to dive well. And they are almost robotic really. 

"But they can falter a little bit as long as you out pressure on them."

Daley is a star himself in China, where they call him "Baby Daley".

Back home, he is almost a veteran at 17. He plans to go on diving until he is 26 by which time he hopes to have won Olympic gold.

That could come as soon as next year, on home soil in London.

"It is going to be such an incredible couple of weeks because the whole of the UK, I think, is just going to shut down and go into Olympic mode and just going to go Olympic crazy.

"So I really can not wait to see what the atmosphere is going to be like.

"I guess the Beijing Olympic experience is going to help me a lot going into 2012.

"And I think lots of the Chinese divers are quite young and new and they haven't had Olympic experience and I don't know whether it might overwhelm them.

"But, we will just have to wait and see what happens, I am going to go in there and give it my best shot."

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