Inside Lines: 'Axed' Aldridge ready to splash out with new teen dive partner
Sunday 01 March 2009
Britain's new Russian diving performance director, Alexei Evangulov, has a pressing matter in his in-tray when he takes up his post tomorrow. He must decide whether to end the partnership of Tom Daley and Blake Aldridge after a declaration by Tom's father, Rob, that the pair are finally out of synch.
Apparently this is a result of Aldridge , who had a famous falling out with the Daleys in Beijing, being beaten up in a Southampton nightclub. Daley Snr says he will not allow Tom, 14, "to be drawn into further controversy", but Aldridge, 26, is still hoping they can resume their twosome. "I've been told nothing about being axed and in any case it is up to the new director," he tells us. "I've been painted as the black sheep again but the attack was unprovoked. All I remember is stepping on to the dancefloor and waking up lying in a pool of blood." Three men have been arrested and will appear in court on assault charges. Aldridge adds: "The main thing is I'm fit and diving again. What happened shouldn't detract from our achievements. If the new man wants results, surely the best way is to keep us together." But if there is to be a parting of the waves, Aldridge says he could be challenging Daley with another schoolboy partner, the 16-year-old Max Brick. "In terms of prodigies he's the next best thing to Tom, and while he's not as consistent, this will come. We'd do well together."
Spurs fans flying flag
Tottenham fans will have a flag day at today's Carling Cup final. The club are putting more than 40,000 blue-and- white flags on fans' seats to raise awareness for the Tottenham Foundation, the Spurs charity which creates opportunities for local youngsters ranging from cooking to football. Let's hope the Spurs players don't flag on the Wembley pitch.
Farewell to snapper
Peter Jay was not only a good friend but also a great sports photo-grapher who worked for 'The Independent' and 'The Independent on Sunday' for 10 years, producing memorable, award-winning pictures which reflected his stylish professionalism. Sadly, he died in tragic circumstances recently. A memorial service will be held at St Mary's Church, St Mary's Road, Wimbledon at 1pm on Friday, close to the All England Club where Pete took so many of what he liked to term his "belters". A programme in tribute to another icon of sports journalism, the late Reg Gutteridge, will be shown on ITV4 at 7pm on Saturday.
Audley offers to make Haye
As James DeGale and his fellow Olympians made their pro debuts last night, fingers were crossed that all would fare considerably better than Britain's previous gold medallist, Audley Harrison (pictured below), whose plummeting career has been a textbook example of how not to do it your way. Yet the A-Force, nowadays more a spent force, is determined not to be written off. With David Haye's hopes of fighting either Klitschko brother receding, the desperate Harrison, 37, has written to his one-time spar-mate offering his services as an opponent. Plenty of punters would pay to see Audley stiffened, and we hear the Hayemaker anxious to get his heavyweight show back on the road, is seriously considering it for the O2 this summer.
insidelines@ independent .co.uk
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