Accessibility links

Breaking News

Young Diver to Make Debut in Beijing Olympics

Britain's youngest competitor at the upcoming Olympics will be a 14-year-old diver named Tom Daley. He will become the second youngest athlete ever to be sent to the games by the UK. There has been intense speculation in England about Tom Daley's chances for an Olympic medal.

Catherine Drew visited the young athlete during a training session at the local pool in Plymouth, in the south west of England.

Tom Daley discovered his love of diving at an early age, and has never looked back.

"I started diving when I was eight," Tom recalls. "I was at this pool doing a public swimming session, saw the diving board, saw people diving off it, thought I'd give it a go and it was the sport for me. I love diving generally, feeling free, doing somersaults, I just love being in the water."

Daley is the youngest ever European 10-meter diving champion, and has a host of other national and international awards to his name. Medal success came early, as his father Rob Daley explains.

"He was invited to British Championships at 10 and won the under 18 title. So, I thought then, you know, something's not quite right here. Ten-year-olds don't beat, 17, 18 year-olds but he did [and] it, well it was not a turning point, but it made me think certainly that he had something in him."

The key to Tom Daley's success is a disciplined training routine. He puts in hours of hard work, both in and out of the pool, six days a week. Other Olympic hopefuls at his home club keep him company.

A rigorous schedule sometimes keeps Daley away from classes in Plymouth. But his teachers and other students are supporting his diving career by helping him with his studies.

The principal of Eggbuckland Community College, Katrina Borowski, says the school is very proud of Daley.

"Whatever happens in Beijing, Tom is already a superstar in our eyes and the eyes of the world, and I think his future is made whatever happens next," says Borowski.

Daley says he's thrilled to be going to Beijing. But his real ambitions lie in the Olympic Games to be held in London in 2012.

"This is basically going to be a preparation event leading into 2012. Because, if I go into 2012 without an Olympic experience, it will be overwhelming, how big it's going to be. So, I'm just going to do my performance in Beijing, learn from it and go into London 2012 with an experience. There's not any nerves at this stage for the Olympics. I'm just basically excited, can't wait to get out there, but I'm sure there'll be a few nerves when I stand on the board for the first time."

In Beijing, the teenager will be competing in the 10-meter dive and the synchronized diving event.