Diving: Daley rules world after shock gold

Fifteen-year-old Briton snatches surprise victory in final round of 10m platform

Tom Daley became Great Britain's first individual world diving champion when he dramatically claimed the 10m platform title at the World Championships last night in Rome, beating the Olympic gold and silver medallists in the process.

The 15-year-old was third entering the final round and while he scored four 10s on his last dive, his rivals faltered.

Daley's score of 539.85 points saw him overhaul the Chinese world junior champion Qiu Bo and Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham to claim the title.

Qiu finished in second, 7.4 points adrift, with Zhou Luxin in third as fewer than 10 points separated the top three, while Mitcham had to be content with fourth after being in the top two for the majority of the competition.

Daley was almost speechless afterwards. "I don't know what to say. I don't believe it, I just don't believe it. It's amazing," he said. "Today was never the day when I thought I would become world champion. I woke up and thought, 'Just go out and enjoy it'. To come away with a gold medal was unthinkable. It still hasn't sunk in. It makes all the sacrifices worthwhile. Now I want to do it again in 2012 [at the London Olympics]."

Daley's dives have a lower tariff – degree of difficulty – than his rivals, which meant he was relying on them to make mistakes even if he dived perfectly. Ending the opening round in first place, he then dropped to fourth for the next three rounds as his lower degree of difficulty counted against him, with Zhou pulling away in third.

At that point Qiu was engaged in a private duel with Mitcham for first. However, Zhou had a poor entry on his penultimate dive to offer hope to the Briton. Daley took full advantage with a three-and-a-half back somersault which received four 10s and took him into bronze position, with second-placed Mitcham in his sights with one round remaining.

Then came the drama of the final round with Daley excelling with his reverse three-and-a-half somersault tuck to earn another four perfect marks from the judges. "I was going to come fourth and I would have been really happy with that because it's great," Daley added. "But then to come away with a medal was great and then a gold medal was just insane."

Of the final two rounds that brought him eight 10s, Daley added: "Those two are my favourite dives and that is why I leave them until last because I know under pressure I can do them well."

Teen sensation Daley's rapid rise

* Tom Daley, who was born in Plymouth in 1994, last year became an Olympian at the age of 14 years and 81 days, Britain's youngest since Rome 1960 when another schoolboy Ken Lester, aged 13, took part in the rowing as a cox.

* He had been competing seriously since the age of 10, winning the National Junior title – for under 18s. He received special dispensation to compete in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January 2007 – he was two years younger than the minimum age – where he won a silver. In December he won the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year.

* A national and European champion, he arrived in Beijing in a blaze of publicity but fell out with his partner Blake Aldridge and finished 8th in the 10m synchro and 7th in the solo event.

* He is now 2/1 to win gold in 2012

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer - Newcastle - £30,000 - £37,000 + benefits

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Digital Project Manager/BA

£300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An experienced Digital/Ecommerc...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home