Daley lives to dive another day after taking an early tumble
Saturday 23 August 2008
Tonight, sometime around 9pm local time – 2pm in the UK – China will in all probability complete a clean sweep of the diving medals in the eighth and last event contested here at the Water Cube. That is certainly what the host nation was expecting last night, after Zhou Luxin stormed through in first place from the preliminary round of the 10-metre platform event. China has taken gold in all seven of the completed diving events.
Britain's 14-year-old prodigy, Tom Daley, at least made it to today's last day of competition, with his 12th place in the preliminaries good enough for a place in the 18-man semi-final scheduled for 10am local time, or 3am in the UK. His compatriot Peter Waterfield, 27, a silver medallist in Athens four years ago, alongside Leon Taylor in the 10m synchronised competition, also progressed to the semi-final after finishing fourth yesterday. The 12-man final starts at 8pm here today.
Zhou, 20, a member of the Chinese navy's diving team, faltered by his own standards on his first dive but then leapt, spun and disappeared quietly on entry with impeccable grace thereafter. He finished with 539.80 points, 30 ahead of his nearest challenger, Australia's Matthew Mitcham.
"Everyone who has come before me has done their duty [to the national cause], so I have to make an extra effort," Zhou said.
"Everything wasn't as sharp as it could be," said Daley, whose mid-event bust-up with his team-mate, Blake Aldridge, marred his participation in the 10m synchronised competition.
"Normally entries are my strong point but today they were a little bit weak. But hopefully, going into the semi-finals, I can sharpen up a little bit."
Daley, who became the senior European champion in March, two months before his 14th birthday, lagged well behind in 23rd place of 30 after his first two dives. His recovery began with an inward three and a half somersaults with tuck, which earned him the third-highest score of the third round. His overall total was 440.40.
He said he had been inspired by Britain's success at the Games. "Britain have done absolutely amazingly. It is really good to be part of that team. You see these people walking around and you think, 'Oh my God, that's an Olympic gold medallist.' It's really good to be in that environment."
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