Daley makes a splash in Japan with pair of medals on return

Daley makes a splash in Japan with pair of medals on return

03 March 2019 / 13:58

A lot has happened since Tom Daley's last competitive international dive - including the small matter of him becoming a father - but it was as if the 24-year-old had never been away as he sealed a pair of FINA Diving World Series medals in Japan.

The double Olympic bronze medallist went one better than his 10m platform bronze at London 2012 as he wrapped up silver behind reigning World Series champion Jian Yang, before adding mixed 3m synchro bronze to his collection alongside Grace Reid.

And the Plymouth native couldn’t have asked for any more after a day that saw him notch 579.85 points in the solo competition – a score just ten shy of his lifetime best.

“If someone told me I was going to score almost 580 points coming into today I’d have taken it and run,” he said.

“It’s my first time back competing internationally since becoming a Dad and taking some time away from the sport, so I’m really happy to come back with that.

“I knew I was close to Jian Yang so I wanted to put as much pressure on him as possible going into the last couple of rounds and I did all that I could do with my last dive, but with his 4.1 degree of difficulty it was always going to be tough.”

After missing most of the 2018 World Series, Daley carded six near-perfect dives – including a back 3 ½ somersault pike with his final effort that earned him 108 points – leaving him just 6.35 shy of world record holder Yang.

With the series in its nascent stage, there’s no time to reflect on a job well done as GB’s divers prepare for the next leg of competition in Beijing next week, but Daley has clearly got the bug once again. 

He added: “It’s exciting coming into a competition and realising that you can dive like that!

“I do that all the time in training and I felt like this morning I was out of competition practice, but this afternoon I just went with it and let it rip; it kind of flowed, which was nice.

“All the things I have been working on have come together but there’s still a lot more in the tank, so I’m feeling good and looking forward to going to Beijing now.”

In the mixed 3m synchro, Daley and partner Reid left it to their last dive to snatch a medal in dramatic fashion.

Lying fifth heading into their final effort, their front 3 ½ somersault pike catapulted them to bronze with 72.54 points, a result that Reid believes highlights what the duo are capable of.

“We’re really pleased – we were keeping an eye on the rankings and we knew the last dive had to be good and that we had to step our game up,” she said.

“We’ve had a busy week, both diving three events, so it’s been quite exhausting, but I think we’ve both had a really good first leg of the World Series.”

Elsewhere on the final day in the Sagamihara pool, Matty Lee finished fourth in the semi-final B of the men’s 10m platform, while Reid and Kat Torrance were fifth and sixth respectively in the semi-final B of the women’s 3m springboard.

Sportsbeat 2019