Diving: So can Tom Daley deliver first gold today?

British pair confident of springing major surprise in the synchronised diving, writes Jack Pitt-Brooke

Real sporting greatness is within Tom Daley’s grasp here. He has already assembled an impressive body of work, with world and European championship gold medals, by the age of 18. And he has already shown remarkable character, with his precocious start to his career, competing at an Olympic games at the age of 14, and of course the tragic loss of his father to cancer last year.

No competitive challenge matters as much as that, but Olympic success for Daley will mark him as part of British sporting elite. Not just for an Olympic medal, nor even for doing so in London, but for the prospect of turning back the Chinese tide.

Few sports are dominated by one country as much as diving and China, and when Daley and Peter Waterfield compete in the men’s synchronised 10m platform this afternoon, they will be facing the talented Chinese teenage pair of Yanquan Zhang and Yuan Cao. Qiu Bo, the brilliant Chinese 19-year-old, awaits in the individual 10m competition.

Daley knows that to beat the Chinese would be a remarkable achievement. “Normally in diving, silver is gold because Chinese dominate everything," he said. “But then you never know what can happen in the Olympic Games.”

The British pair have form on their side. Daley and Waterfield were overall winners on the 10m platform synchronised at the FINA Diving World Series earlier this year, while Daley, who is diving as well as he ever has done, also won the overall individual event. Daley was not sure which event would be harder but both will be exacting contests.

“Both events are just as strong as each other,” said Daley. “In synchro it's tough because there are eight teams and all of them could win medals. You wouldn't be able to guess the results of the men's 10m synchro. The top eight divers in the world are here and, for me, any of them could get a medal. And individually you could have great preparation and good form but it just matters what happens on the day.”

But Daley will certainly be helped today by the strength of his relationship with Waterfield, despite the 13-year age difference between them. Waterfield won silver in the 10m synchronised in Athens and Daley remembers eagerly watching him at the age of 10 while on a family caravan holiday in Newquay, adjusting the television aerial to pick up the coverage of the event.

Now they are team-mates and Waterfield said that they work well together. "As far as chemistry, we've both got dreams and we've both got aspirations and we both want to achieve the same things,” explained the senior partner. “By working as hard as we can for each other, and getting the best out of each other, hopefully we can go and win a medal."

But they cannot spend all their time together, even at their holding camp in Southend. Waterfield is old enough to have a son just seven years younger than Daley and the pair naturally move in different circles. “When we're out of the pool the younger ones usually stay together,” Waterfield said. “I've got an 11-year-old boy and even he tells me to go away sometimes, so I wouldn't want to cramp Tom's style."

Daley is probably relaxed about it. After the few years he cannot possibly be said to be daunted by anything. The prospect about competing against the greatest diving nation in the world in front of a partisan crowd just seems to excite him. "Pressure isn't a bad thing,” he said. “I quite like pressure going into a competition. In a competition, divers either handle pressure or they don't. For me, I've had pressure going into competition for a long time now and it's something I've been able to get used to.”

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
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.

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities