Bri­tish diver of­fers muted praise for ‘beat­able’ cham­pi­ons


Bri­tish star Tom Da­ley in­sisted that China’s ruth­lessly ef­fi­cient divers are “beat­able” as he looked ahead to an en­tic­ing new clash af­ter win­ning a bronze medal in the 10m syn­chro­nized event.

Da­ley and his part­ner DanielGood­fel­low set­tled for third in the tan­dem event, be­hind gold medal­ists Chen Aisen and Lin Yue and sec­ond-place David Boudia and Steele John­son from the United States.

China is threat­en­ing to pull off a his­toric sweep of div­ing’s eight gold-medal events in Rio. Wu Minxia and Shi Ting­mao opened the com­pe­ti­tion on Sun­day with a de­ci­sive women’s 3m syn­chro­nized spring­board win.

Da­ley ar­rived in Rio chal­leng­ing his Chi­nese ad­ver­saries. “They­have to beat me,” he said.

He had praise for China’s dom­i­nance on Mon­day but con­tin­ued to stir the pot, say­ing he was ea­ger to beat Chen and 2012 sil­ver medal­ist Qiu Bo in the 10m in­di­vid­ual.

Asked what makes China so strong, he said: “A 1.3 bil­lion pop­u­la­tion helps.” But he went on to praise their work ethic.

“These guys are so strong, they’re so tech­ni­cally pro­fi­cient in what they do. But go­ing into an in­di­vid­ual com­pe­ti­tion, as David will be able to tell you, they are beat­able.”

He was re­fer­ring to Boudia’s up­set of Qiu in the thrilling plat­form fi­nal in Lon­don, one of only two golds won in 2012 by non-Chi­nese divers. Da­ley took the bronze. Da­ley, Boudia and the rest of the field will have their work cut out for them in stop­ping the Chi­nese jug­ger­naut in the 10m in­di­vid­ual event.

Chen and Lin were coast­ing to­ward a dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance on Mon­day un­til a wob­bly fourth dive opened the door a crack.

Lin said: “We had a lit­tle bit of hes­i­ta­tion dur­ing our jump, so we did not han­dle it very well.”

But they slammed the door shut on the next dive that won 9.5s and 10s.

Da­ley, still just 22 de­spite be­ing in the spot­light for nearly a decade, is seek­ing to fi­nally de­liver the gold medal that has eluded him since emerg­ing as a star in his mid­teens.

His Olympic de­but came in Bei­jing in 2008 when he was just 14. He fin­ished sev­enth in the 10m in­di­vid­ual plat­form, be­fore his Lon­don bronze.

The two-day men’s 10m in­di­vid­ual com­pe­ti­tion be­gins on Aug 19.

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