London 2012

Better display from Daley

Team GB star qualifies in fourth place for diving final

Last Updated: 11/08/12 1:19pm

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Tom Daley: Qualified for final in fourth place

Tom Daley: Qualified for final in fourth place

Tom Daley bounced back from the shock of his near-exit in the preliminary round to qualify for the final of the men's platform diving competition on Saturday.

The 18-year-old showed his credentials to win a medal with a solid rather than spectacular display to qualify fourth with a score of 521.10.

And after his scare on Friday, when Daley scraped through in 15th place, his morning's work offered plenty of reassurance his confidence had not taken a decisive blow.

While he failed to nail the high scorer he will need to stand on the podium, he showed signs of his quality and a willingness to fight when he secured his highest score of the semi-final on his back three-and-a-half somersault - the leap he completely bombed a little more than 12 hours earlier.

The former world champion's hopes of a first Olympic medal do, however, look restricted to bronze after Chinese duo Qiu Bo and Lin Yue produced another masterclass.

Qiu, who stole away Daley's world title 12 months ago, qualified in first place after twice attracting 10s in a score of 563.55.

Compatriot Lin Yue also notched a 10 as he finished 21.75 points further back and 20.70 up on of Daley.

The Plymouth-diver returned to the Aquatics Centre after his poor display on Friday night knowing he needed to up his game.

He started with more surety grabbing 7.5s for an opening back two-and-a-half somersaults with two-and-a-half twists that he badly over-rotated in the first round.

It was only good enough for ninth though and he remained there after attracting nines on his favoured, but easiest, inward leap.

Eights followed for his armstand but by halfway the Chinese already had both posted 10s to stamp their authority on the contest.

Daley was finding it tough to reply with a big-scoring dive and got more eights for his hardest forward four-and-a-half somersaults.

With two dives remaining he was safely placed in seventh but with his back three-and-a-half somersaults - which drew a score as low as three last night - to come some nerves remained inside the Aquatics Centre.

There need not have been as Daley responded in fine style with 8.5s to grab his highest points score of the morning and virtually assure his place in the next round.

He finished confidently with nines to ensure he can rest easier ahead of Saturday's 8.30pm final, when all scores are wiped, and when the eyes of the host nation are set to fall on him.

Better

"It was a lot better than last night," Daley told BBC1. "That's the thing with diving - anything can happen. As you can see - the Olympic champion has just not qualified for the final and I've completely turned around my performance, and the same with David [Boudia].

"Myself and David were at the bottom end of the prelim and now we're at the top end of the semi-final, so it's turned around a lot.

"It feels weird going into another competition after knowing the disappointment from the synchro, being so close yet so far away.

"Going into the individual I really wanted to prove a point of going there and trying to give it my best shot so last night [it] was tough to get through all that competition.

"So I'm happy that I made the semi-finals, and now I made the final. Anything can happen tonight.

"I'm gradually getting sharper and sharper. It's hard to compete in the prelims and the semi-finals when you know it doesn't count towards the medals yet you need to do enough to qualify.

"So that's the toughest part done at the Olympics, to actually qualify for the final, and now I've done that I'm going to give it my best shot tonight."

Daley admitted he was most likely diving for a bronze medal at best following the performance of the Chinese.

"With the men's platform, bronze is almost gold and then anything above that is platinum and beyond," he said.

"It's going to be very tough but in diving you just don't know what is going to happen.

"The Chinese have been very consistent and they seem to be pretty unstoppable at the minute. We'll have to see what happens tonight."

After his poor performance last night Daley admitted he had needed a confidence boost, especially on his back three-and-a-half somersaults.

"It was strange last night - I don't ever do them like that," he said.

"That's what was frustrating, but this morning in training it was good.

"It's a confidence boost to know that I can actually do it going into the final."

He added: "I'm gradually getting sharper and sharper. It's hard to compete in a prelims and the semi-finals when you know it doesn't count towards the medals yet you need to do enough to qualify.

"So that's the toughest part done at the Olympics, to actually qualify for the final, and now I've done that I'm going to give it my best shot tonight."

Daley was still well shy of his personal best 565.05 - set when he reclaimed his European title in May - and he believes he can go close to replicating that total in the final after failing to nail any of his harder dives.

"There was a lot of things in there that could have gone a lot better," he said.

"For example my back twist - I think I scored something like 80 on it but I can get at least another 12 points on that.

"With inward that was steady and armstand was a bit slow I can get 10 points on that.

"The front I could get 15 maybe 20 points on that so there are still a lot of improvements that can be made. It's just whether I can do it on the night."

Casualty

Defending Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham was the major casualty of the morning session with the Australian leaving in tears after finishing just a place outside the 12-man cut.

"That's a very sad moment. Defending Olympic champion...13th is the worst position to finish," said Daley, who is friends with Mitcham.

"That was the highest-standard Olympic final there's ever been.

"In Beijing to qualify for the final it was something like 440 but here it was 495. That's a massive step up.

"That shows how much diving has stepped up."

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