Tom Daley Needs to Treat World Championships as Catalyst for Success

Ben Snowball@@BenSnowballContributor IJuly 28, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 27:  Tom Daley of Great Britain looks on as he competes in the Men's 10m Platform Diving preliminary round on day eight of the 15th FINA World Championships at Piscina Municipal de Montjuic on July 27, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Regardless of what happens in the diving World Championships final in Barcelona, Tom Daley must use it is as a platform to reignite his career.

The 19-year-old has endured a difficult time since following up a bronze medal at London 2012 with two golds at the World Junior Championships, and is in danger of slipping further behind his rivals.

His preparation for Barcelona was wrecked when he tore a triceps muscle, per the BBC, whilst he’s also struggled with a glandular problem.

Daley was precariously placed with one round remaining in the World Championships semifinals, lying 11th and with only the top 12 allotted a place in the final.

But he showed true character to nail his final round dive—a reverse three-and-a-half somersault tuck—to receive a score of 94.05 points and sail into Sunday’s final.

It is his ability to produce big dives when it matters that makes him a world-class competitor and is why he still has an outside shot of a medal in Barcelona, despite a difficult 2013.

Daley has already enjoyed a remarkable career, having shot to worldwide stardom when he won the 2009 World Championships in Rome aged just 15.

But the continuing emergence of China as a diving force makes it increasingly difficult to triumph without producing six near-perfect dives.

Daley will face diving sensation Qui Bo in the final, but even if he succumbs as expected to the Chinese’s ability he should take encouragement from the fact Bo also scraped through qualifying.

It highlights that no matter how good you are, anyone can suffer a blip and one minor mistake is all it takes to ruin your entire competition.

Barcelona is the perfect catalyst for Daley to put this year behind him and focus on getting back amongst the diving elite.

If he fails to perform in the final he should bottle the feeling of disappoint and vow never to experience it again.

But if he manages to claim an unlikely medal, he knows the potential is there to build and once again become a force on the 10-metre platform.