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AFP
July 21, 2019

Daley vows to hit back after losing world diving crown

Sports

AFP
July 21, 2019

GWANGJU, South Korea: A defiant Tom Daley promised on Saturday to come back stronger after he flopped in the world championships, losing out to China’s peerless divers in the 10 metre platform final.

The British diving star — and defending world champion — came a distant seventh behind Yang Jian and Yang Hao, who bagged gold and silver respectively to cap a majestic performance from China’s divers in Gwangju.

“That’s sport for you isn’t it,” he told AFP.

“It’s not the way I wanted to end the world champs but on a positive I came here to qualify two Olympic spots and I managed that,” added the 25-year-old.

“It just puts a fire under your a*** basically, to get back to training and doing what you need to do to be the best that you can be.”

Daley, who captured the world title in 2017 and 2009, booked his place for Tokyo 2020 with a solid performance in the heats but failed to match China’s swaggering display in the late-night final in South Korea.

Yang Jian, pumping his fist after a final dive, could barely conceal his delight as he pipped countryman Yang Hao to the world title by just 13 points.

Victory came despite a perfect set of 10s in the fourth round for Yang Hao, who had sacrificed a spot in the mixed three-metre synchro final to rest up for his main event.

Russia’s Aleksandr Bondar took bronze behind the Chinese pair, whose win made it 12 out of 13 for the diving powerhouse at this year’s championships.

Earlier, Australian pair Maddison Keeney and Matthew Carter broke China’s stranglehold of the gold medals by winning the mixed three-metre synchro title by the finest of margins from Canada’s perennial bridesmaids Francois Imbeau-Dulac and Jennifer Abel.

Keeney and Carter produced a series of superb dives to post a winning score of 304.86 points, just 0.78 points more than Imbeau-Dulac and Abel, who took silver in Kazan four years ago and the bronze at the 2017 championships in Budapest.

Germans Tina Punzel and Lou Messenberg claimed bronze with 301.62 after China’s Yang Hao and Chang Yani pulled out for Yang to concentrate on the 10m platform final.

China scooped a remarkable seven of eight gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics and enjoyed a stranglehold again at the last world championships in Budapest two years ago, scooping eight of the 13 titles on offer.

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