Daley gives Evangulov endorsement

27 July 2012 / 17:47

Tom Daley has publicly launched his bid for Olympic diving glory in a press conference that veered from questions about his late father to the importance of personal grooming.

Such is the 18-year-old's pulling power he was almost the sole focus of a 40-minute session on Friday, which was also attended by three of his team-mates and performance director Alexei Evangulov, as a relaxed Daley indulged the weird and wonderful of the world media's interest in Great Britain's Olympic poster boy.

He offered a full endorsement of Evangulov despite the Russian publicly questioning Daley's Olympic ambitions six months ago. But Daley said: "I think Alexei is what British Diving has needed. I think Alexei has really shaped the Olympic team into something that he had a vision of when he joined the team in 2009. "

He went on: "He's made it the team that it is today. We are the strongest team results wise this year."

The smoothing over of any dispute has been aided by a stellar six months for Daley since the criticism - which came during the World Cup meet at the Olympic pool in February - in which the teenager has hit peak form and, in addition to two achieving personal bests, was crowned World Series and European champion.

With expectation rising Evangulov revealed he would seek to reduce the hype and pressure on his young charge over the next fortnight by ordering him out of the Olympic Village, and to a training base in Southend for six days, in between his events.

After competing alongside veteran Pete Waterfield in the platform synchro on Monday, Daley will have an 11-day wait before he returns for the individual event in which he was crowned Great Britain's youngest ever world champion as a 15-year-old.

"From my experience working with the Russian team we always try escape from the Olympic environment because you can be exhausted emotionally," Evangulov said. "You can be good physically but emotionally you can be tired. That's why we are going for five to six days. Southend is the best base and diving facility in this country."

Daley's quest for Olympic glory is also set to be played under the backdrop of his desire to win a medal for his late father Robert. Daley was at his dad's bedside in May last year when he lost his long battle with brain cancer.

Daley said: "Going in to this competition the only thing I can focus on is my performance. I know that all my family is going to be there watching. It would be extra special if I could do well at these Games."