World champion Tom Daley has his Olympic dream in mind after announcing he will take a break from competition for the rest of the year
World champion Tom Daley has his Olympic dream in mind after announcing he will take a break from competition for the rest of the year.
The 23-year-old diver added to his vast medal collection on the Gold Coast last month with gold in the 10m synchro – his fourth Commonwealth Games title.
However the competition proved to be something of a balancing act with Daley battling a hip injury and having to withdraw from the defence of his individual title.
He returned to the boards for the conclusion of the Diving World Series, picking up a fourth consecutive silver with mixed synchro partner Grace Reid in Russia this weekend.
However with a series of ailments still ongoing, Daley has opted to take the rest of the year off to return to full fitness.
Daley, who is also set to welcome his first child with husband Dustin Lance Black later this summer, will return to training in the autumn but will not feature in any major competition until 2019.
That then leaves him over a year and a half to focus on preparations on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where he will aim to finally claim an elusive gold medal after bronze medals at the two previous editions.
“Diving is a huge part of my life, and I have dedicated the last 15 years to it,” the triple world champion told British Swimming.
“I want to keep performing at the highest level for myself, my family and my fans, but in order to do that I need time to take some time to recover.
“I’ll be using the rest of the year to spend time with my husband and new baby and work on projects close to my heart. I am sure this will give me the time I need to be in a position to compete at my best going into the next Olympics.”
Daley, who will miss the World Cup in China next month and the European Championships in Edinburgh this August, was Britain’s youngest competitor aged 14 at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
He then won bronze in front of his home fans at London 2012 and was well placed to win gold at the last Games in Rio after topping the preliminary round with a personal best score.
But he suffered a turnaround in fortunes the following day, finishing 18th in the semi-finals and failing to reach the final – although he had earlier picked up 10m synchro bronze alongside Dan Goodfellow.
He responded to that individual disappointment the following year by taking the 10m platform title at the World Championships – eight years after his first individual global triumph – but will now take a temporary step away from the sport.
Alexei Evangulov, National Performance Director for diving added: “We have had a meeting with Tom, his coach Jane and our medical team and agree a break from competition is what he needs to enable him to return to his best ability in 2019 and going into Tokyo 2020.
“The global diving schedule this year has already been busy, and it is vital that all our divers take care of themselves physically and emotionally, in what is a very demanding sport.”