It’s no easy feat to dethrone a king but Tom Daley believes he is edging closer to the top after pushing world champion Qiu Bo all the way on the final day of action at the World Diving Series in Dubai.
Bo and Daley have been locking horns for years with the former edging the Briton into the bronze medal position in the 10m platform at London 2012.
The Chinese diver went one better a year later when he claimed the world crown but Daley made sure Bo is well aware that he is hot on his heels with a strong showing in Dubai on Saturday.
In the end it was a brilliant performance from Bo, who produced perfect dives in the first, fourth, and sixth rounds to take the win with 612.75.
But Daley showed that he was capable of applying the pressure with a perfect dive in round three for his inward three-and-a-half somersault routine.
In the end the gap was too far to bridge but Daley comes away from Dubai safe in the knowledge that he can turn the screw on Bo in the build up to Rio 2016.
“It’s definitely nice to know that China are beatable now, and it’s just about making sure that you put as much pressure on them as possible, because who knows what can happen in competition,” he said.
“You just have to keep plugging away and try to chase them. We’re catching up.
“I’ve being doing a lot of strength work so my jumps are higher, I’m finishing things higher, everything’s easier so all the hard work I’ve put in has been really paying off.”
After Jack Laugher’s gold a day earlier Daley’s medal was Britain’s third after Tonia Couch had earlier got herself on the podium with a bronze medal finish in the 10m final.
A strong start from Couch saw her emerge as the early leader but China showed their strength as the competition wore on and Chen Ruolin powered through for gold while teammate Liu Huixia took silver.
But Couch was far-from disappointed at being knocked into third and believes the competition could prove to be a watershed moment for Britain’s divers.
“The crowd was amazing, I can’t believe we’re in Dubai and everybody was behind me and behind GB today, it was great, I think it helped," she said.
“Four years ago there was no such thing as beating the Chinese but now we’re getting close, the men have caught them up completely, the women have still a little bit to catch up but we’re right behind them.
“I dropped one of my dives today so I could have got that silver medal. I’ve never led before in my life. Definitely I’ll remember this competition.”
© Sportsbeat 2015