Sebastian Coe did his bit yesterday to plug at least one of the many gaps that have been evident in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The stands in the Dr S P Mukherjee Aquatics Complex were only a third full as the chairman of the London 2012 Olympic organising committee took his seat to watch the 10m platform synchronised diving final. "We will not get away with empty stadiums in London," he said. "If they are empty, I will have personally failed."
At least the double Olympic 1500m champion got to see one sight he would dearly love to behold on home ground the year after next: the 16-year-old Tom Daley standing on top of the medal rostrum – with the 18-year-old Max Brick alongside him. Lord Coe had probably not seen such supreme, orchestrated diving since Jürgen Klinsmann last visited his beloved Stamford Bridge, or possibly even the gravitationally-challenged Francis Lee.
The English pair proved a class apart, finishing with 439.65 points, 15.84 points clear of the Australian duo Matt Mitcham and Ethan Warren. With only four teams in the competition – Canada placed third and Malaysia fourth – there was no bronze awarded. Not that the lack of opposition diminished Daley's sense of satisfaction at having added Commonwealth gold to a medal collection that also includes world and European gold.
"Olympic gold's the only one I've got to get before I retire," he said. So is the Plymouth schoolboy contemplating quitting before he has even finished his A-levels (in Spanish, maths and photography)? "No," came the reply. "I hope to do as many Olympics as I can until my body falls apart. I'd love to keep going until I get that gold medal."
It has been a tough year for Daley, who is still suffering from the effects of the triceps muscle injury which forced him to miss the European Championships in Budapest in August. "I need treatment every day, just to get rid of the scar tissue," he said, "but I felt no pain today. In competition you tend not to feel it so much because of the adrenaline."
It is little wonder that Daley makes light of his problem. His father has been undergoing chemotherapy for a brain tumour. Rob Daley, 39, has been a passionate first-hand follower of his son's fortunes (famously commandeering a press conference at the world championships in Rome last year) but watched the action yesterday on television back home – "with a tear in my eye," he said.
"I've just been on radio and they had my dad on the line," Tom said. "I rang him straight after the competition, just in case he interrupted my press conference. He sang a song on the radio: 'Ole, ole, ole, ole.' It was quite embarrassing. He always finds a way, bless him. He's very happy at home with the family." Mr Daley could be even happier today. His son goes for gold again, in the individual 10m platform final.
On the last night of track and field action at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, there was gold in the women's 4 x 100m relay for England. There was also an upgrade from bronze to silver for the Plymouth sprinter after confirmation of Osayemi Oludamola's disqualification from the ill-fated 100m last Thursday.
A second Nigerian athlete, Samuel Okon, who finished outside the medals in the 110m hurdles, has also been disqualified after testing positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine. Mark Lewis-Francis anchored the English men's 4 x 100m relay quartet to victory.
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