Diving: Britain heading to Olympics thanks to 13-year-old Daley

The 13-year-old Plymouth diver, Tom Daley, maintained his sensational surge towards a record-breaking place at this summer's Olympics yesterday by winning a bronze medal in the synchronised 10m platform event at a World Cup meeting in Beijing, and with it a place for Britain in the event at the Games.

Daley and his partner, Blake Aldridge, needed a top-eight finish to guarantee a British Olympic slot at the same Water Cube venue this summer. Against a world-class field they exceeded all expectations by not only achieving their target but finishing on the podium, behind the Olympic favourites, China, and Germany. On this form, an Olympic medal is plausible.

Daley and Aldridge, 25, are not guaranteed to represent Britain themselves, because they face a national selection test in June, when Leon Taylor and Pete Waterfield (silver medallists in Athens in 2004) will be their rivals. But form, as well as injury concerns over Taylor, make Daley and Aldridge favourites to get the nod. "We dived really well and I just can't believe we won a medal as well as qualifying Britain for the Olympics," said Daley last night. "It's been an absolute rollercoaster of a ride.

"We didn't dive at all well this morning and at one stage looked like we might not make it. We eventually finished ninth, made the final and then came away with a bronze. It's totally amazing."

Daley will be in action again over the weekend, trying to qualify for the Games in the 10m individual event. If he returns to Beijing this summer, in one or both events, he will become Britain's youngest ever male Olympian. "This medal is so special to me but I'd love the chance to come back here for the Olympics and fight for one of those," said Aldridge.

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