Daley claims European gold

20 May 2012 / 21:21

Tom Daley will celebrate his 18th birthday on Monday as the European 10metre platform champion after a dominant performance in Eindhoven.

Daley had blitzed his rivals in Sunday morning's preliminary round and there was no let-up in the final as he comfortably reclaimed the crown he first won as a 13-year-old in this same city.

Daley twice scored 10s, and could have even attracted more for his most difficult front four-and-a-half somersaults dive, on way to a personal best 565.05.

His rivals were left in his wake, Russia's Victor Minibaev was his closest challenger some 49.65 points behind, in Daley's last international competition before this summer's Olympic Games.

Daley has delivered his London hopes a sizeable boost in the past three months, following his public criticism by performance director Alexei Evangulov, capped by his display in Eindhoven.

After Evangulov's comments he has won silver at the opening three legs of the World Series before finishing with gold, in the absence of world champion Qiu Bo, in Mexico last month.

That performance was his previous best and he believes his continued improvement could be a reason for consternation amongst his Chinese rivals.

"I think they'll notice," he said. "I don't know if they'll be watching the European Championships too closely but I guess the word will spread about my score. It might say to them I'm coming up and doing it consistently to challenge them."

Daley still has some ground to recover if he is to match the best the Chinese have managed, though, with Bo's personal best more than 600 while he won last year's World Championships with a score of 585.45.

Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham, however, needed only 537.95 four years ago, and Daley said: "I think if I am to win an Olympic medal I'll have to score like I did today."