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You are in: Devon > People > Profiles > Thomas tipped for the top

High board diver Tom Daley

High board diver Tom Daley

Thomas tipped for the top

Teenage diver Thomas Daley is being tipped for Olympic gold after taking British diving by storm. He's recently won a string of national events and is regularly challenging divers twice his age.

Tom Daley is an exceptional diving talent and he's aiming for the very top of his sport.

The 13-year-old high board diver from Plymouth is already one of Britain's best medal prospects for the 2012 Olympics.

He's taken British diving by storm, regularly beating competitors twice his age and has become junior champion on the 10m board. 

Tom with his coach

Tom with his coach

In December 2007, Tom claimed the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year title - an amazing achievement for a 13-year-old.

Tom began diving when he was eight and he's won medals at almost every event he's entered.

"My biggest dream is to get a gold at the 2012 Olympics in front of a home crowd in London.

"It's just everyone's dream when they are a little kid, everyone wants to be an Olympian and get an Olympic gold medal."

By the age of 10, Tom was the best diver in Britain for his age. And in 2005, at the Australian Junior Elite Championships, he took gold.

Tom's ambitions don't stop at the individual event. He also wants to compete in the synchronised diving in 2012.

Tom at the 2007 National Diving Championships

Tom at the 2007 National Diving Championships

But with five years to go until the London Olympics, Tom still has his teenage years ahead of him and anything could happen.

His idol and mentor is Leon Taylor, who won a silver medal in synchronised diving at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

"If I can provide any kind of positive input and maybe steer him away from some of the mistakes I made when I was younger, then that's my role," said Leon.

"There's a long road ahead of Tom, he's got growth spurts to deal with and girls are going to come into the equation, these are all distractions. So it's a case of Tom making the right choices at the right time."

In 2007, Tom won two titles at the Senior National Diving Championships in Sheffield.

He secured two top 10 scores to win the 10m platform individual event and also won the 10m synchro event with his new partner Callum Johnstone.

After a last minute call up, he also reached the final of the 2007 Diving World Series, where he was up against experienced divers twice his age.

Competing against the world's number one, two and three, he pushed them all the way to claim fourth place.

Tom says he loves the thrill of diving: "It's a bit more interesting than swimming because you can do flips and dive into the water and put more complications in it than in swimming."

He got involved in the world of diving completely by chance.

Tom Daley

Tom is dedicated to the sport

"I was doing a session in a public swimming pool and I saw people diving, and I thought I'd like to do that.

"So my dad took me along regularly on Saturday mornings and after a while I got talent spotted. It's amazing I just got picked out of nowhere."

Tom has been placed on Britain's junior Olympic programme and is one of the young divers showing the most promise.

"We're asking a lot of nine, 10 and 11-years-olds to step up and maybe look a little bit longer term to six years down the track," explained national performance director, Steve Foley.

"If you've got a 12-year-old and your asking for a commitment of six more years, at the moment that's half their life. That's a big ask fro anyone.

"At the end of the day whoever wants it that much more will have the edge."

Tom, who trains at Central Park Pool in Plymouth, has received sports grant funding to help him realise his ambition of becoming the best in the world.

It comes from a multi-million pound scheme to help Britain win more medals at the 2012 Olympics. Tom is one of 100 budding sportsmen and women receiving the scholarship.

last updated: 04/08/2008 at 15:49
created: 13/07/2005

You are in: Devon > People > Profiles > Thomas tipped for the top

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