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Page last updated at 20:10 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 21:10 UK

Diving chief fears Daley burn-out

Tom Daley
Daley is European champion at individual 10m platform

Diving sensation Tom Daley could burn out before the 2012 Olympics, warns Britain's performance director.

The teenager from Plymouth is already considered one of Britain's best hopes for gold in London after qualifying for this year's Games at the age of 14.

But Steve Foley told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We have no idea if he'll go any further after Beijing.

"The constant media expectation will take its toll. We need to be careful and try to balance things."

Daley shot to stardom this year when he booked his place in the British team for Beijing. He then followed that achievement by winning the European Championships.

As a result, he has received numerous requests for interviews and will be under intense scrutiny in China as he seeks to win a medal in the individual and synchronised 10m platform events.

I don't think I'll get anywhere near a medal

Tom Daley
Foley said managing Daley's media commitments will be key to the teenager's progress.

"He's fully aware that the media help make your career so he's not being silly about it, he's very smart," said Foley.

"But there comes a time where we've got to have a break and get on with some serious training.

"That will be the biggest thing for Tom over the next four years because of his profile, the expectation and the fact it's in London."

Daley and his coaching team have been keen to play down any expectations ahead of Beijing.

The 14-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live:"Lots of people say 'go and get the gold' and I just think I've got no chance. I don't think I'll get anywhere near a medal.

"I am just going for the experience and hoping to do a good performance. Everyone is expecting me to get a medal but I don't think I'll get one."

Host country China are expected to dominate the diving competition, which will be held at the Water Cube.

China won nine of the 10 gold medals on offer at last year's World Championships.

Daley's coach Andy Banks said winning a medal is not one of the aims in Beijing.

"There are three goals," he said. "The first is for him to come back happy and proud of his performance, the second is to learn as much as possible from the environment, the third is he's got to have some fun.

606: DEBATE

"At the end of the day, if everybody in the world dives as well as they can do - including Tom - then he won't be on the rostrum."

Banks also said that Daley's support team were "monitoring" the youngster for any sign of burn-out.

"At the moment he still loves it," he said. "I think there are times when he gets a little bit annoyed with the whole media circus.

"But the great thing is that, even at 14, he is able to turn his professional head on and off. I think he'll stay like that to be honest.

"At the end of the day, he's still a kid, if he wants to go and spend a weekend with his parents or have a night off because it's his mate's birthday, then I think he should do that.

"It's important he has a life as well."


see also
Meet Tom Daley
25 Mar 08 |  Diving


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