Diving: Tom Daley ready to defy pain barrier

 

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The Independent Online

Tom Daley is determined to take part in the 10-metre platform final at the World Championships here today despite needing constant medical attention as he fought his way through.

"I want to compete, full stop. If I am in pain, I am in pain," Daley said. "If my arm falls off, my arm falls off. I've had enough of being out of the pool now and I want to get back in and see what happens."

Daley had performed poorly in the preliminaries yesterday morning at the Piscine Municipal de Montjuic, but his struggle to qualify for the semi-finals in 13th place was explained when it was revealed that he had a tricep injury, suffered in training on Thursday.

His elbow had swollen and was failing to lock, which meant that he needed treatment between every round and throughout the 75-minute interval between the prelims and the semi-finals.

Remarkably, the Plymouth diver came seventh to reach the final despite having ice strapped to his right arm between his shoulder and elbow, and a sequence of ice, massage and compression between each dive.

The 19-year-old admitted the pain had been intense but, with the Worlds being his only competition left this year, he was adamant that he would take his place in the final today.

The injury was another setback in a year that has been disrupted by shoulder and elbow injuries that have restricted training and competition. His coach, Andy Banks, has called it "a season from hell".

Daley was second at the halfway stage before he faltered with his next two dives, leaving him 11th with one round to go.

However, the Olympic bronze medallist nailed his reverse three-and-a-half somersault tucked, securing two perfect 10s, to end seventh with 452.70 points.

Daley said: "A few days ago I hit the water – it was a good dive – and my arm kind of buckled and collapsed a little bit. I thought it was a little bit weird. It wasn't sore at the time but the next day it reacted and was a little bit sore on Friday.

"I was like, 'Oh no, great timing'. This morning I woke up and it was pretty sore and the more dives I've done the more sore it has got. My medical team have been really good: after every dive compressing it, trying to reduce the swelling and all the medication, trying to get me through the competition without too much pain.

"It has been tough and the preparation I've had leading in to this competition hasn't been ideal either, it's been one thing after another. If you had told me four weeks ago I was even going to compete at the Worlds I would have said it was going to be a miracle."

It was particularly tough, given that Daley opened with an armstand. "That is the most painful one to do because I can't actually straighten my arm at the moment because it's that sore," he said.

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