Nerveless Laugher springs forth as world-class talent

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The Independent Online

Double world junior champion Jack Laugher hopes he can one day enjoy his time in the spotlight currently occupied by Tom Daley after an eighth-placed finish in the 3 metre springboard final on his World Championships debut yesterday that belied his 16 years.

The Harrogate diver was far from out of place among a world-class field in Shanghai and appeared to be completely unaffected by nerves. His total of 453.50 points secured eighth, which in turn sent the teenager into next year's World Series, while booking a place for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, although not for Laugher himself as he will still have to qualify.

While Daley was winning senior international titles at 14 and became world champion at 15, Laugher appears to be making a seamless transition from junior to senior ranks.

Last year the Damian Ball-trained diver claimed double European Junior gold and went on to replicate his achievements at the World Junior Championships in Arizona. The then 15-year-old reached the 3m synchro final with Nick Robinson-Baker at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, coming seventh, as well as 11th in the individual event.

Laugher revealed that Daley had imparted advice on controlling nerves and staying calm, and said he was flattered by comparisons being made to the 17-year-old, who until tomorrow at least is the world 10m platform champion.

"It's very nice to be compared to Tom Daley, he is an amazing representative for the sport," Laugher said. "He is such a good talent but there is a big difference between springboard and platform diving. It would be great to live up to what he has done and the achievements he has got.

"Yes, it would be nice to have that kind of spotlight, I guess. I don't really know what his life's like but it would be nice to get to his level and then you never know what's out there."

Describing the competition as "absolutely great", Laugher had few nerves, saying: "I tried to put them to the back of my mind. I tried not to think of it as it as a world championships, but as a home competition or practice."

The event was won by China's He Chong, the hosts having won every gold medal so far.