Daley and Aldridge can get relationship back in sync, says diving chief

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The Independent Online

The diving partnership between 14-year-old Tom Daley and Blake Aldridge, his partner for the 10m platform syncronised event, is salvageable despite the pair "cracking under pressure" in meltdown fashion this week, according to their sport's performance director, Steve Foley.

Daley and Aldridge finished last of eight in Monday's event, after which Aldridge blamed Daley's nerves for their poor performance. Daley had also been furious with Aldridge for having a mobile telephone conversation with his mother during the final.

By late Monday night here, the prospect of the pair ever taking to the platform together again seemed remote. But Foley insisted yesterday that he expects them to represent Britain together in the future, and that they will compete together in next year's world championships in Rome.

"I'm sure Blake regrets lashing out that way," Foley told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It's an intense competition."

Aldridge said Daley had been "worrying about everyone and everything... you both have to be on the top of your game. I wasn't on top of my game but Tom was nowhere near the top of his."

Foley yesterday reiterated a view he expressed on Monday that Aldridge had also suffered with nerves. "Somewhere along the line, the reality of the situation was going to hit home," he said. "It's a typical partnership, they finished eighth and had high hopes of doing well and the emotion came out.

"The fact Tom has a partner who is 26, there are going to be differences. To us it was good because we can say: 'Right, what did you learn from this?' With the world championships next year, they are going to be so much better."

Leon Taylor, a 10m syncro silver medalist in Athens and close to both Daley and Aldridge, said: "Tom and Blake are looking forward to regrouping and looking forward to the future.

"Sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment which shouldn't be said out in public. I'm sure Blake, in hindsight, would have decided to act differently."

Daley and Aldridge's last place as China took gold was replicated by another British syncro diving pair yesterday. The home favourites Wang Xin, 16 on Monday, and Chen Ruolin, 15, won China gold in the women's 10m event as Britain's Stacie Powell and Tonia Couch came last.

Chen and Wang scored 363.54 points in an event China have won all three times since its introduction at the 2000 Sydney Games. Australia took the silver and Mexico the bronze.

The Chinese pair are also expected to finish first and second in the individual 10m event next week, and China are looking for a clean sweep of all eight diving gold medals.