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Diver Daley eyes China showdown after Rio bronze debut

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Great Britain's Thomas Daley (R) and Daniel Goodfellow celebrate with their bronze medal during the podium ceremony for the men's synchronised 10m platform contest in Rio de Janeiro on August 8, 2016
Great Britain’s Thomas Daley (R) and Daniel Goodfellow celebrate with their bronze medal during the podium ceremony for the men’s synchronised 10m platform contest in Rio de Janeiro on August 8, 2016

British star Tom Daley insisted China’s ruthlessly efficient divers are “beatable” Monday as he looked ahead to an enticing new clash after getting just bronze in the Olympic 10m synchronised event.

Daley and his partner Daniel Goodfellow settled for third in the tandem event, behind gold medallists Chen Aisen and Lin Yue and second-place Americans David Boudia and Steele Johnson.

China is threatening to pull off a historic sweep of diving’s eight gold-medal events in Rio. Wu Minxia and Shi Tingmao opened the competition Sunday with a decisive women’s 3m synchronised springboard win. There are six to go.

Daley had come to Rio challenging his Chinese adversaries, saying “they have to beat me.”

He offered praise for China’s dominance on Monday but continued to stir the pot, saying he was eager to beat Chen and 2012 silver medallist Qiu Bo in the 10m individual.

Asked what makes China so strong, he sniffed: “1.3 billion as a population helps,” before catching himself and praising their work ethic.

“These guys are so strong, they’re so technically proficient in what they do,” he said.

“But going into an individual competition, as David will be able to tell you, they are beatable.”

He was referring to Boudia’s upset of Qiu in the thrilling platform final in London, one of only two golds won in 2012 by non-Chinese divers.

Daley took the bronze.

Daley, Boudia, and the rest of the field will have their work cut out for them in stopping the Chinese juggernaut in the 10m individual.

Chen and Lin were coasting toward a dominating performance on Monday until a wobbly fourth dive — a back 3 1/2 somersault in pike position — opened the door a crack.

“We had a little bit of hesitation during our jump, so we did not handle it very well,” Lin said.

But they slammed the door shut on the next dive, nailing a front 4 1/2 somersault tuck that won 9.5s and 10s and set Rio’s outdoor diving venue alight.

Daley, still just 22 despite being in the spotlight for nearly a decade, is seeking to finally deliver the gold medal that has eluded him since emerging as a star in his mid-teens.

His Olympic debut came in Beijing 2008 when he was just 14. He finished seventh there in the 10m individual platform, before his London bronze.

The two-day men’s 10m individual competition begins August 19.

Source by: AFP

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