Despite yesterday's disappointing result in the synchronised diving with Pete Waterfield, Tom Daley still believes he can win an Olympic medal at London 2012.
The pairing led at the halfway stage but a poor fourth dive saw them drop down to fourth, where they stayed for the remainder of the competition.
They have since returned to the team’s holding camp in Southend to fine tune their preparations for the individual event, which begins with the preliminary round in 10 days.
That gives the pair plenty of time to think about what might have been in the synchro which, for both men, was arguably their best chance despite the fact Daley topped the World Series standings in the individual this season.
“We’re now, hopefully, going to go out and do well in the individual,” the 18-year-old said. “Going into the individual event we have experience of what the crowd is like so it’s not going to be any different or feeling, ‘Wow, this is overwhelming.’
“We know exactly what we need to do. By the individual event, we should be ready to go.”
The problem for Daley and Waterfield is that they are up against arguably the world’s greatest diver in China’s Qiu Bo and it appears to be his gold to lose.
Qiu, who did not compete in the synchro event, insists he has not allowed himself to dream of gold although he and his team are expected to dominate all events.
“I never think about winning the gold medal,” said Qiu, a diver described by Daley as a robot because of his high level of consistency and called ‘Mr Full Mark’ back home.
He is so obsessed with perfection that his coach has to rein him in during training to avoid injury.
The one hope for Daley and Waterfield and the other divers in contention for gold, notably Australian Matthew Mitcham, David Boudia, of the USA, and Russia’s Victor Minibaev, is that 19-year-old Bo buckles under the weight of expectation from the Chinese public.
But Qiu, the son of two former factory workers in Neijiang, China’s sugar capital, insisted: “I enjoy the pressure of being No1. That is the pressure that moves me to get stronger and stronger.”Reuse content