x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Daley beats his imagination

Tom Daley shocked everyone, himself included, when, at just 15 years of age, he became the first Briton to win a Diving World Championship in the 10metre platform.

Thomas Daley of Great Britain competes in the Mens 10m Platform final at the Stadio del Nuoto in Rome, Italy.
Thomas Daley of Great Britain competes in the Mens 10m Platform final at the Stadio del Nuoto in Rome, Italy.

Tom Daley shocked everyone, himself included, when, at just 15 years of age, he became the first Briton to win a Diving World Championship in the 10metre platform. One of the UK's youngest Olympians, Daley was 14 when he participated in Beijing and only 10 when he competed in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. "I don't know what to say. I just don't believe it. It's amazing," he said. "It was never the day when I thought I would become world champion."

Going into the final round a the Stadio del Nuoto in Rome in third place, the Plymouth diver performed a perfect reverse three and a half somersault tuck, which raised him to first place after he received four perfect marks from the judges. He finished with a flourish when his rivals, Matthew Mitcham and Qiu Bo, who beat him at the Olympics last year, did not live up to their former high standards.

Daley said he had never expected to win and that he had woken up that morning with a "just go out and enjoy it and do your best" mindset. When I stood up on the board I thought I was going to be happy with a fourth place." He said, "When I got a silver medal I was like 'Oh my God'. "Unthinkable - you can't imagine how over the moon I was. Then when it came to the gold medal I just fell to the floor, I really didn't know what to do."

The young champion's tariff - degree of difficulty - was lower than that of his rivals, which meant that even had he dived flawlessly, he was counting on their mistakes to elevate him. Daley won with 539.85 points, with Qiu coming in second place, Zhou Luxin third, and Mitcham in fourth. After ending the opening round in first place, Daley spent the next three rounds in fourth. During the fifth round, Daley did a three and half back somersaultto move up to third. He then executed the memorable tuck in the final round.

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