Tom Daley Will Overcome Injury Scare to Triumph in Barcelona

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 18:  Tom Daley of Great Britain dives during a training session ahead of the World Championships on July 18, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Tom Daley fans will be rocking back and forth with anxiety right now.

The English heartthrob—who The Daily Star reports was recently voted the World’s Sexiest Man by Attitude readers—has suffered a number of misfortunes since representing Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

As reported by BBC Sport, the 19-year-old initially suffered from a lack of motivation after the worldwide event. Injury problems followed as Daley was forced to miss the European Championships and World Cup after suffering a triceps injury during April 2013.

Despite partaking in little competition during the eight months after securing an Olympic bronze medal, the adored diver sprang into life with a 10-meter platform win at the World Series in Edinburgh. He now aims to add another individual title to his rapidly growing list of honours with a victory at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.

True to form, the youngster enters proceedings with another dose of imperfect preparation. As his coach Andy Banks told BBC Sport, a glandular problem put his Spain appearance in severe doubt:

His glands have swollen, and that means he is not able to get into the various shapes because of the pain factor.

He's just coming out of that now, and the physios are getting him out of that, hopefully in time for the competition in a couple of weeks' time.

He's done progressive lead-ups on lower boards while he's had some of these problems. It's not as if he has done nothing, but it's about preparation.

But he's still chomping at the bit, and I'm sure he'll give as good a performance as he can.

Daley remains in typically-buoyant fashion ahead of his meet on July 27-28. His career is defined by overcoming misfortune—be it the death of his father in 2011 or various injury struggles—ensuring he heads into the Catalan championship as one of the favourites. Daley is remarkably resilient and has the experience to utilise his mental strength in order to topple any physical pain.

As the diver tweeted on July 18, he is working hard to ensure top form in Barcelona:

Even so, Britain's youngest ever competitor will enter the tournament feeling a tinge of disappointment for his Olympic partner, Peter Waterfield. The experienced 32-year-old—who became the first Briton to capture an Olympic diving medal in 44 years after his silver at Athens 2004—lost his funding after the London games. As reported by ESPN, the man from Walthamstow recently called time on his illustrious career.

Waterfield tweeted confirmation of his decision to retire:

A sad end to his friend's career will make Daley even more determined to capture victory. With his injuries and Waterfield's retirement, British diving is in need of a quick rejuvenation after a disappointing few months.

Daley is more than willing to risk his body in order to win. While it isn't healthy for his body, he has regularly combated physical limitations to compete. His victory at February's British Championships in Plymouth came at a time where he wasn't completely fit and had a number of outside commitments (such as appearing on the terrible Splash! television show), ensuring his current glandular problem won't hamper his chances in Barcelona.

Whether dealing with physical or personal problems, Daley is the kind of diver who manages to put everything aside when he stands on the board. His recent injury and Waterfield's retirement are the latest additions to a long list of distractions for the Englishman, but as he continues to lead British hope, they provide nothing more than extra fuel on a fire that burns brighter than most.