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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 13:13 UK

GB boss backs Daley and Aldridge

Tom Daley and Blake Aldridge
Daley and Aldridge were let down by their entries into the water

Britain's diving chief Steve Foley said he expects Tom Daley and Blake Aldridge to compete together in next year's world championships in Rome.

The duo finished last in the Olympic 10m synchronised diving final on Monday, prompting Aldridge to criticise 14-year-old Daley's performance.

But Foley told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm sure he (Aldridge) regrets lashing out that way. It's an intense competition.

"We expect them to line up in the World Championships next year."

The pair ended up on 408.48 points in eighth place after their six dives, almost 60 points behind gold medallists China.

Aldridge believed Daley was responsible for their disappointing performance saying the teenager suffered from nerves.

"He was worrying about everyone and everything and that to me is really the sole reason why he didn't perform," he said on Monday.

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

"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."

But performance director Foley believed Aldridge had also been overwhelmed by emotion in front of 18,000 people at the Water Cube, as well as the added burden of intense media scrutiny.

"The media focus was on Tom Daley, most people didn't know who Blake was," said the Australian.

He realises Blake didn't mean it in the way it came across, maybe it should have been said privately

Daley's training partner Brooke Graddon

"Somewhere along the line, the reality of the situation was going to hit home.

"It's a typical partnership, they finished eighth and had high hopes of doing well and the emotion came out.

"The fact he (Daley) has a partner who is 26, there are going to be differences.

"To us it was good because we can say: 'Right, what did you learn from this?' With the world championships next year, they are going to be so much better."

Former Olympic medallist Leon Taylor, who won silver in the same event with Pete Waterfield in Athens in 2004, said that despite the result there was no rift in the diving team.

"I spent an hour-and-a-half with both of them yesterday (Monday) evening, I can assure you it's a happy camp," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Tom and Blake were on good form and they are looking forward to regrouping and looking forward to the future.

"Sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment which shouldn't be said out in public. I'm sure Blake, in hindsight, would have decided to act differently.

"They are frustrated and upset about their under-par performance. Both of them admitted they weren't at their top of their game."

Daley has drawn widespread attention since his arrival in Beijing as Britain's second youngest male Olympian.

But the European 10m individual platform champion has admitted the extra attention had affected him.

"You should have seen the media scrum the pair had to make their way through at the pool," said Taylor, who is in Beijing as a mentor to the British team.

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"There has been so much interest in Tom and diving, it's very difficult in an emotive time to think logically."

Training partner Brooke Graddon revealed Daley has been upset by the media's portrayal of Aldridge's comments.

"He realises Blake didn't mean it in the way it came across, maybe it should have been said privately," she told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Tom is fine, he was upset all this was kicking off, but they are friends as always."

Daley is back in action in the men's individual 10m platform event on Friday 22 August.

And Foley is confident the experience of the past two days will make the Plymouth diver even more determined to impress in his main event.

"He has got it out of his way, he will be steadier with the nerves - he now fully understands what an Olympic Games diving event is all about," he said.

"Sometimes you don't understand until you go through the experience."


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


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