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Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 15:35 UK

Aldridge blames Daley for failure

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Disappointment for diving duo

Blake Aldridge has put the blame on partner Tom Daley after the British pair finished in last place in the 10m synchronised diving at the Olympics.

Aldridge, 26, and 14-year-old prodigy Daley were not expected to win a medal but put in a below-par performance.

"I didn't blow anything, so I can go home happy," said Aldridge.

"Unfortunately it's a partnership, you both have to be on the top of your game. I wasn't on top of my game but Tom was nowhere near the top of his."

Daley has enjoyed a phenomenal rise, winning the individual European title and becoming Britain's second youngest male Olympian.

That has led to a huge amount of attention on the teenager, who has even caught the eye of the international media in Beijing.

He and Aldridge were considered outside chances to win a medal in the synchronised diving - which only includes eight teams - but they were out of sorts on Monday.

Leon Taylor verdict on Aldridge and Daley disappointment

Aldridge revealed the pair had a spat between the fifth and final dives of the competition.

"There was a little incident but it is an Olympic Games, you are in a different world and people are going to do things differently," he said.

"He had a pop at me before the last dive. I saw my mum in the audience and I asked her to give me a call and Tom went to me 'Why are you on the phone? We're still in the competition and we've got another dive to do.'

"That's just Thomas - he's over-nervous. Thomas should not be worrying about what I'm doing but he was worrying about everyone and everything and that to me is really the sole reason why he didn't perform."

As China eased to the gold medal with 468.18 points ahead of Germany and Russia, the British pair were some way adrift with 408.48 points in eighth.

They were joint third after the first dive but several botched entries into the water saw them penalised heavily in the ensuing five rounds and they quickly slipped out of contention.

"I knew we were capable of a medal but I knew it would depend on how Tom performed," said Aldridge.

"I wasn't on the top of my game, but I out-dived Thomas and that's not something that normally happens.

"That to me is because he had a lot more pressure on him than I did.

"It was hard work for me today. Tom was very nervous, more so than ever before. I think he really struggled to get through the competition.

"I certainly think the media played a part in that and also just the Olympic Games, it is a massive event.

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Daley admitted it was a 'bad day'

"The reason it didn't come together was that we didn't bounce off each other. We didn't have that fun aspect to it that we would normally have."

Daley admitted he had felt nervous, but said both he and Aldridge were to blame.

"We just had a bad day," he said. "We didn't dive very well, it was quite disappointing.

"There was a lot of pressure on me and I was very nervous. But it's an experience which will be good for 2012."

Olympic silver medallist Leon Taylor, who acts as mentor to Tom Daley as well as the rest of the British diving team, said he was surprised by Aldridge's remarks.

Tom Daley's mentor Leon Taylor

But he added: "In the heat of the moment, people say funny things.

"Synchronised diving is a partnership and the last thing you need to be doing is apportioning blame.

"The important thing now is that they regroup and learn the lessons."

Daley will return to the Water Cube on Friday 22 August when he will attempt to qualify for the individual final.

The Plymouth teenager has insisted all along that his focus was on gaining experience in Beijing ahead of the London Olympics in four years' time when he is expected to be one of Britain's brightest medal hopes.

"I really enjoyed myself and had so much fun out there," he said.

"That is all you can ask for getting the experience of it. We prepared like a normal competition and we treated it like a normal competition.

"It was just the fact it wasn't our day today, we just had a bad day."

Aldridge, 26, is not competing in the individual event so his Olympics are over.

"Unfortunately I don't have another chance. I'm a little bit disappointed," he said.

"I'm happy with the way I dived. It was a great experience to get out there in the Olympic Games and unfortunately we didn't place where we could have placed."

see also
China claim gold in 10m synchro
11 Aug 08 |  Diving
Meet Tom Daley
25 Mar 08 |  Diving

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