Diving: Evangulov believes Daley can leap from platform to springboard star
Last Updated: October 16, 2012 12:49pm
Alexei Evangulov, the British Diving performance director, believes that Tom Daley can make the leap from platform to springboard star following his unexpected success at the World Junior Diving Championships last week.
Until now, Daley has formed his reputation on the 10-metre platform, where he was crowned world champion at the age of 15 before winning an Olympic bronze medal in London this summer.
However, in a rare appearance on the three-metre board last week, Daley won gold alongside Jack Laugher, claiming his first ever junior world title in the synchro.
With the duo having only been paired as a post-Olympics experiment, they trained together for just a couple of days before flying out to Adelaide for the season-ending competition.
It proved a brilliant move and, with the focus already on the Rio Olympics in four years, Evangulov confirmed the teenagers would now continue their partnership.
Evangulov said: "Why not? We never thought they might get a medal so to get a gold medal is amazing.
"Tom is a professional in the platform. This was just an experiment. We said to them to try it and creep up the table and see how they went.
"Tom will remain a platform diver first and foremost of course, but there can be a combination. It comes back to his genius as a diver that he can do this.
"A couple of years ago I told Tom that he could be on the springboard and he didn't believe me. He was laughing at me."
The partnership has the makings of a potential world-class act.
The 17-year-old Laugher is a rising star himself having already established himself inside the world's top-10 springboarders. He finished his junior career last week with a remarkable four world titles.
"Tom will remain a platform diver first and foremost of course, but there can be a combination."
The pair will not return to competition until the national titles in Daley's home town of Plymouth in February, with the season having now ended.
While they can use that time to establish their new partnership, the teenage duo will face a tough task to unseat Chris Mears and Nick Robinson-Baker as Great Britain's number one pairing.
Mears and Robinson-Baker were fifth at the Olympic Games yet, with the World Championships set to be held in Barcelona next July, Evangulov has welcomed the potential for a friendly rivalry.
He added: "The more pairs that we have, the better for competition.
"We have Nick Robinson-Baker and Chris Mears doing well but maybe they can test them. If they have a team challenging them then they could do better. It is good for us."
Team GB returned their best ever performance at the junior worlds, highlighting the depth of British diving.
While Daley and Laugher contributed three gold medals, Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling became the first British girls to win a junior medal.
It meant Britain finished second only to diving powerhouse China on the medal tally, a result that Evangulov was not expecting.
With a strong troupe of young talent developing, the Russian has now set a target of becoming the second-ranked European nation by the next Olympics, and the fifth-ranked in the world.
He concluded: "We are going in the right direction. I was really proud of this result. To finish second on the medal table is something that we did not expect. We did not plan for that.
"We finished ahead of some very strong diving countries like the United States, Russia and Australia. It is our dream of course to be second behind China (in the world).
"The reality is that we set our own target which is to be the second-ranked nation in Europe. We want to be second behind Russia by Rio. We would also like to be ranked fifth in the world in four years.
"We are seventh now. If you look in the past at Beijing, Great Britain was 14th in the medal table and here in London they were seventh.
"Top five in Rio will be very good but I like the idea about being number two also."