Diving: Daley, 13, close to clinching Olympic place

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The Independent Online

By Nick Harris

Tom Daley remains on course to become Britain's youngest ever male Olympian after the 13-year-old produced a stunning performance yesterday to win the 10-metre platform gold at the British Diving Championships in Manchester.

In beating the favourite, Pete Waterfield, 26 who won Olympic silver in the 10m synchro in Athens in 2004 Daley became the youngest man to win the senior British 10m title. On Saturday, he and Blake Aldridge, 25, won the 10m synchro gold medal.

"I'm over the moon," Daley said. "The way that Pete is diving, I never expected to beat him today. After my first two dives, which didn't go well, I knew I had do something special to simply get into the top two, which was my aim for this event."

The weekend's victories mean Daley, from Plymouth, has qualified to dive both the solo and synchro 10m events at a World Cup event next month in Beijing, where Olympic slots are up for grabs. Top-eight finishes there would put him in pole position to go to the Games, probably in both events.

Daley and Waterfield collected a succession of 9.5s and perfect 10s during the preliminary and semi-final rounds. Daley beat his lifetime personal best score of 480 with a 484 in the preliminary and beat it again with a 485 in the semi. He then scored 471.10 to win gold.

Waterfield had built a big lead but missed his tough reverse dive while Daley was composure personified through his two-and-a-half backward somersaults with one and a half twists. "It was one of my best ever dives and it came at exactly the right time," he said.

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