Improving Daley 'can take London medal'

21 May 2012 / 15:31

British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov believes Tom Daley can break China's dominance at this summer's Olympic Games.

Only three months ago Evangulov publicly questioned Daley's Olympic credentials, claiming he was the fifth-best 10metre platform diver in the world. But since then, Daley has hit career-best form and after being crowned World Series champion last month, Daley, who turned 18 on Monday, reclaimed his European title in Eindhoven on Sunday night.

As well as sending a warning to his Chinese rivals it left Evangulov in no doubt that Daley can stand on the podium in the Olympic Aquatics Centre this summer, and he warned: "That result will scare the Chinese - it will get them worried."

The Plymouth diver blitzed his opponents on Sunday, who included former world champion Gleb Galperin, with a personal-best 565.05.

Evangulov added: "Thomas is diving very well at the moment. With no obstacles in his way he is doing very well.

"In a way he is equal with the Chinese at the moment. Two years ago or even last year I would not say this. You remember what I said in the press - he was fifth in the world. Now I can say he is top three."

Daley's success in Holland, as he reclaimed the crown he first won as a 13-year-old, was his second personal best in as many meets to underline his progress this year.

While Evangulov concedes he still has ground to make up to catch China's world champion Qiu Bo, whose best is in excess of 600, and Lin Yue, he believes Daley is capable of doing it.

"If you look at his results his personal best, it's still below the Chinese," he said. "But there is one thing that makes me optimistic - the Chinese scores are high but last year and two years ago they were at the same level.

"They are close to 600 but they are not improving. Thomas is getting closer. I don't know if we will have enough time or not (before the Olympics) but he is getting closer. Thomas is not even at his best now. I expect that in July he will be better, we are training him so that will happen."