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Page last updated at 09:45 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Diver Daley wins regional award

Daley reflects on South West Award

Teenage Olympic diving sensation Tom Daley has been named as the BBC South West Young Sports Personality for 2008.

The 14-year-old from Plymouth became Britain's youngest Olympian for nearly half a century when he qualified for Beijing 2008.

He finished seventh in the 10m platform event, beating many of the world's best along the way.

Daley had already shown he could compete at senior level when he won the European title early in the year.

"This year's been really good," said Daley. "It started off in February when I qualified for the World Cup.

"It was there that I qualified for the Olympics and I became the youngest ever world medallist when I won the men's European platform title."

Walking round the village and seeing all of the Olympians with their gold medals really inspires you to want to go and get one for yourself next time

Tom Daley
The Plymouth youngster ends the year with a work ranking of four.

"It doesn't seem real that I've done it - it feels like I am still living a dream," he said.

"It's going to be hard to follow - hopefully if I keep working hard I can.

"I am in the middle of learning some new dives so hopefully I can get more degree of difficulty in them and compete a bit more."

The year has been so packed full of success that picking out a high point is difficult for Daley.

"I was really over the moon when I qualified for the Olympics, but I was really chuffed when I won the European title," he said.

Daley has been well known in the south west for a couple of years, but in 2008 he became the focus of worldwide attention.

"It's kind of weird," he said. "It still doesn't feel right when people are calling your name. It's still weird - you just have to get used to it.

"It's been quite good fun and I've quite enjoyed it. I felt like it was hectic all the way through this year.

"I've just being doing what I've been told to do. My mum and dad and my agent sort out what I need to do."

The baby of Team GB in Beijing took the experience in his stride.

"The Olympics were an amazing experience, it was the best month I have ever had," he said.

"Walking round the village and seeing all of the Olympians with their gold medals really inspires you to want to go and get one for yourself next time."

Tom Daley
Daley with his South West Young Sports Personality award
Although there was no medal success in Beijing, Daley feels it will benefit him in the long run.

"I've learnt a lot now and if I was to go back and do the whole year again it could be a lot different," he said.

"I won't train any differently, but I have a lot of wisdom in my head about not letting the Olympic Games faze you and treat it like a normal competition.

"I wasn't expecting a medal, as I said all along. I just went out there to enjoy myself and I was happy with my performance.

"I was glad that I went to Beijing to get used to it before I went to 2012."

Daley was surprised when he was presented with his BBC South West Young Sports Personality of the Year award live on Spotlight on BBC One on Wednesday, 3 December.

Four other young sports stars were highly commended by the judges, Paralympic swimmers Jonathan Fox and Matt Whorwood, tennis player Heather Watson, and Aaron Cook, who narrowly missed out on a taekwondo medal at the Olympics.

see also
Young Sports Personality: The top three
28 Nov 08 |  Sports Personality
Nominees named for sports awards
21 Nov 08 |  Sports Personality
Olympic star Daley meets dolphins
23 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Olympic heroes set sights on 2012
17 Oct 08 |  Olympics
Teenager Daley dives into final
23 Aug 08 |  Diving


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