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Page last updated at 08:22 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 09:22 UK

Daley dreams of gold in London

13th FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Date: 17 July - 2 August Venue: Foro Italico, Rome
Coverage: Daley and Brick in the 10m synchro live, BBC2/online on Saturday 25 July 1200-1330 BST

Tom Daley

Daley 'shocked' after winning gold

Tom Daley hopes his World Championship gold medal triumph will help propel him to the 2012 Olympic title in London.

Daley became Britain's first world diving champion by winning the 10m platform title in Rome on Tuesday.

"The home crowd will want me to be on top of the podium in London so it's great practice to have had pressure and responded well," said the 15-year-old.

"This is great practice for London 2012 because there is going to be a lot of expectation and a lot of pressure."

Daley was third entering the final round and while he scored four 10s on his last dive, his rivals faltered.

His score of 539.85 points resulted in him beating Chinese world junior champion Qiu Bo and Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham to clinch the title.

Daley has had some difficult moments since he qualified for the Olympic diving finals in Beijing, aged only 14.

606: DEBATE

He and former dive partner Blake Aldridge fell out after Aldridge criticised Daley's performance in the 10m synchronised final, where they finished last, although Daley recovered his composure to finish seventh in the solo event.

And earlier this year Daley was forced to move schools after being subjected to bullying by fellow pupils.

Now settled in a scholarship at Plymouth College, Daley added: "Everything is going well because there are 50 other elite athletes there so it's great to be among them and not stick out like a sore thumb.

"There are so many sacrifices, you have to train so hard and when you come out on top of the world it's crazy, it still hasn't sunk in.

"I really didn't think coming into this competition I would get anywhere near the medals. All I wanted was a top eight finish.

"Not even once did I think I was going to be world champion. Waking up not once did I think I was going to be on top of the podium with the national anthem playing.

Tom Daley

Watch Tom Daley's six dives (UK only)

"I went into the final trying to do my best and do six good dives and show the world what I could do. And everything fell into place. I felt good, felt strong on the boards and everything went to plan.

"The 10m event is so unpredictable and any of the top four could have won, it was that close.

"It's insane to think that I'm the best diver in the world.

"It's an incredible feeling and the next time I want to do this will be in the London Olympics.

"Hopefully it should put British diving on the map a little bit more and help to get a little bit more publicity."

Daley's mother Debbie was at home with her other two sons and said she was proud of her son's historic achievement.

She stated: "It is a shock to the system to be honest to think he is a world champion at the age of 15 - and also that he is the first Briton to win it as well.

"It was really unexpected. I did not expect him to medal at all. I was perhaps thinking he might get into the top six but when he got into the bronze position I thought 'yes, he's got a medal'.

Tom Daley

Watch Tom Daley's six dives

"That would have been great in itself but in the space of a few dives he had won gold.

"I haven't stopped shaking since."

At the media conference afterwards Daley's father Rob was clearly overcome and the pair embraced.

He enthused: "It was a brilliant feeling when he was fourth.

"Then when he got bronze it was amazing. When he got silver I thought 'don't let it stop'.

"Then waiting for the last score for the Chinese diver seemed to take an eternity.

"I had a flashback of his whole life and I looked up and he was world champion and he is 15!

"It is an unbelievable feeling."

Daley's achievement even caught the attention of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who said: "I am delighted at Tom's success.

"His gold medal shows what is possible with talent, commitment and determination. He is an inspiration to all those involved in British sport and to young people right across the country. My congratulations go to him, his family and his team."



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see also
Tom Daley's life less ordinary
22 Jul 09 |  Diving
Mother's pride in dive champ son
22 Jul 09 |  Devon
World Championships photos
25 Jul 09 |  Swimming
Daley wins historic World title
21 Jul 09 |  Diving
Daley deals with growing pains
19 Jul 09 |  Diving
Teen Daley earns GB diving place
07 Jul 09 |  Diving
Dive star moves to public school
02 Jun 09 |  Devon
Brilliant Daley wins Florida gold
10 May 09 |  Diving
Olympic champion hails GB's Daley
16 Apr 09 |  Swimming


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