Tag Archives: synchronised

Battlefront dies on Grand National meeting day one

Grand National meeting suffers first fatality on day one after Battlefront collapses following Fox Hunters' Chase

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

16:05 GMT, 4 April 2013

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UPDATED:

16:28 GMT, 4 April 2013

The Grand National meeting at Aintree suffered its first fatality on day one this afternoon as Battlefront collapsed and died after the 3.40 John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase.

The horse, ridden by Katie Walsh, was pulled up at the 11th fence of the 2m 5f chase, which was won by 100/1 long shot Tartan Snow.

Unfortunately 11-year-old Battlefront, trained by the jockey's father Ted, then suffered a suspected heart attack on the way back to the stables and died.

Bad news: Battlefront, ridden by Katy Walsh (left), suffered a suspected heart attack after being pulled up

Bad news: Battlefront, ridden by Katy Walsh (left), suffered a suspected heart attack after being pulled up

Aintree has revamped the course fences to make them safer for competing horses after criticism of the meeting's Saturday showpiece branding it dangerous after seeing two fatalities – According to Pete and Synchronised – in last year's National.

Despite the accident not involving a course fall, the news is still a blow for organisers.The chase was the first race to be held over the Grand National fences.

Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary advisor to Aintree Racecourse, confirmed the news, saying: 'We can confirm that Battlefront was pulled up at fence 11 of the John Smith's Fox Hunter's Chase on the Grand National course by his jockey Katie Walsh and sadly afterwards he collapsed and died.

Out of nowhere: Tartan Snow, ridden by Jamie Hamilton, won the Fox Hunters' chase as a 100/1 shot

Out of nowhere: Tartan Snow, ridden by Jamie Hamilton, won the Fox Hunters' Chase as a 100/1 shot

John Baker, Aintree and North West Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, expressed his sympathies but defended the sport.

'I would like to extend our sympathies to the Walsh family for this sad news,' he said.

'British racing is very open that you can never eliminate all risk from horse racing, as with any sport.

However, welfare standards are very high and equine fatalities are rare.

'With 90,000 runners each year, we have a fatality rate of just 0.2 per cent.'

Becher"s Brook on trial after Grand National fatalities prompt safety review

Becher's Brook on trial after Grand National fatalities prompt safety changes

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UPDATED:

20:05 GMT, 20 September 2012

The RSPCA have issued a thinly-veiled threat to the British Horseracing
Authority by saying the future of Becher's Brook will be on trial in
next year's Grand National.

Britain's most important animal welfare group was reacting to the
announcement of only minor changes to the most iconic fence in jump
racing following the safety review prompted by two fatalities in last
year's race.

Carnage: Several runners fall at Bechers Brook last year

Carnage: Several runners fall at Bechers Brook last year

It was the second year running two horses have died in the most-watched steeplechase of the year.

As expected, the most significant move announced by Aintree and BHA
concentrated on the start which will be 90 yards nearer the first fence,
reducing the four mile four furlong race by nearly half a furlong.

Other changes include:

Doubling the size of the' no-go' zone between horses and a more visible starting tape to 30 yards

Trialling prototype fences with a more forgiving 'core' at the Becher Chase meeting in December:

Spending an additional 100,000 of improving watering capacity

Additional efforts to catch riderless horses.

But there will be no reduction in the 40-runner field.

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised fell at Becher's last year
before galloping on riderless and breaking a leg while the second 2012
fatality of According To Pete occurred when he was brought down at
Becher's on the second circuit.

The RSPCA issued a statement saying: 'While the proposed improvement at
Becher's by the additional levelling of the adverse slope on the landing
zone can only be beneficial, we belief that the remaining many
complexities of this fence mean that it continues to pose a serious and
unacceptable threat to horse welfare.

Changes: The 2012 Grand National brought more chaotic scenes

Changes: The 2012 Grand National brought more chaotic scenes

'We will watch carefully the impact of this change at Becher's at the
2013 Grand National. This is the BHA's last chance to show that this
fence can pose a fair and safe challenge to horse and jockey.'

The BHA and Aintree hope that by moving the start 90 yards away from the
buzz of the grandstands, it will create a more 'controlled atmosphere'
for a starting procedure that has been intermittently chaotic since the
1993 void race. Last year there were two false starts.

Director of Raceday Operations Jamie Stier added: 'It could have the
effect of reducing the early speed of the race. If this were to be the
case, it would be an added benefit.'

Stier repeated the findings of the preliminary investigations that the
two 2012 deaths were neither 'foreseeable or predictable'.

The BHA had introduced a number of changes for the race in April, which
included reducing the height of the fourth fence, reducing the
magnititude of the drop on the landing side of Becher's and beefing up
the entry qualification for runners.

He added: 'There has only been one Grand National since these changes
were made and there has to be time to assess the effect of them.

'Following this year's race, our priorities were to establish the facts
surrounding the incidents that occurred during the running of the race
and, secondly, to review the events which led to what was an
unsatisfactory start to the race.

'We have worked closely with Aintree and consulted widely with jockeys,
trainers and legitimate welfare organisations – the RSPCA and World
Horse Welfare – on a range of elements related to the race.'

John Baker, the newly installed supremo at Aintree, added: 'Balancing
the Grand National's enduring appeal whilst working to reduce risk in
the race is a delicate but important balance to strike.

'In recent years, we have made significant investments in safety and
believe today's announcement demonstrates we will continue to do so
whilst preserving the unique character and appeal of the nation's
favourite race.'

Former champion jockey and Racemail columnist Peter Scudamore, welcoming
the changes, said: 'Animal welfare has always got to be the priority. I
think the vast majority of the public accept there is a risk with the
race that is acceptable as long as the people in charge strive and are
seen to be striving to make the National as safe as possible.'

The truth is that for all their work, Aintree and the BHA could be undone by a few moments bad luck, just as they were in April.

The future of the Grand National has become as hot an annual topic as who wins the race.

World Twenty20 2012: Stuart Broad – England must beware minnows

Broad issues stark warning to England team-mates: Beware the minnows

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UPDATED:

22:34 GMT, 20 September 2012

England have beaten South Africa, Australia and Pakistan in the last nine days and go into their World Twenty20 opener knowing a win against Afghanistan would guarantee their progress to the next stage.

Simple Well, not when one remembers they lost to Holland in their first match of the 2009 tournament and almost did the same against Ireland in the Caribbean a year later before Duckworth-Lewis rescued them.

The shorter the game, the more chance of an upset. In Afghanistan, England face one of the better ‘minnows’ who pushed India all the way in Group A’s first match on Wednesday before falling 23 runs short.

Focused: Broad takes strike during a nets session on Thursday

Focused: Broad takes strike during a nets session on Thursday

How they line-up in Colombo

England (probable): Hales, Kieswetter (wkt), Wright, Morgan, Buttler, Bairstow, Bresnan, Broad (capt), Swann, Finn, Dernbach.

Afghanistan (probable): Shahzad (wkt), Mangal (capt), Sadiq, Stanikzai, Nabi, Shenwari, Shafiqullah, Naib, Najibullah, Dawlat, Shapoor.

Afghanistan have had to overcome long odds just to be here and England must hit the ground running at the R Premadasa Stadium if they are to stop them defying life and logic for a little longer.

There was a relaxed confidence about England at nets. The serene atmosphere at the historic Nondescripts Ground was summed up by a synchronised swimming team practising in the club’s pool just beyond the boundary while England went through a gentle session of their own.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight was the swimmers’ music of choice but England’s lions need to be wide awake if they are not to suffer a defeat that would leave the defending champions facing elimination almost before they have started.

Defence begins: England start the defence of their T20 title with Bairstow and Swann likely to figure

Off and running: England start the defence of their T20 title with Bairstow likely to figure but Briggs may miss out

Off and running: England start the defence of their title with Bairstow likely to figure but Briggs may miss out

‘Afghanistan aren’t going to hold back, that’s for sure,’ said England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad. ‘It will be important we keep our cool. You have to accept in Twenty20 that the ball will fly around at some stage, but as long as we stick to what we do well, we’ll be fine.’

This is Broad’s first chance to have a proper run at leadership instead of the odd match here and there. Already, there are signs that he will be a different captain to both Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, whose instincts are conservative. Broad, in contrast, bristles with intent and competitiveness.

‘I would say my instincts are attacking,’ said a rare example of a bowling captain. ‘I like to take wickets and in Twenty20 cricket, you have to risk a boundary to take a wicket. But it’s important for a bowler to know what he wants to do and if any of them don’t agree with the way I approach things, I’m more than happy for them to take responsibility.’

Relaxed: The England players shared a joke as they lined-up for the team photo

Relaxed: The England players shared a joke as they lined-up for the team photo

Relaxed: The England players shared a joke as they lined-up for the team photo

England won the last World Twenty20 by sticking to rigid plans. While Broad emphasised that will again be important, he insisted he will be flexible, as he showed by asking Danny Briggs to open the bowling at the last moment in their warm-up victory over Pakistan.

Whether the success of that move will earn Briggs a place remains to be seen. England are likely to buck this tournament’s trend for spin. With Broad, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach and Graeme Swann all looking certain picks, it is hard to see how the Hampshire protege fits in. Briggs will be sweating on how the wicket appears, as will Tim Bresnan and Samit Patel.

Whoever England pick, Broad is delighted with the squad. There was even the rarity of a whole press conference passing yesterday without anyone mentioning KP.

TV’s newest pundit is sensibly keeping his distance while he works for ESPN Star, with his studio and hotel an hour away from England’s base. /09/20/article-0-053BC01D000005DC-899_624x415.jpg” width=”624″ height=”415″ alt=”Dutch courage: Broad's face says it all as Ryan ten Doeschate celebrates” class=”blkBorder” />

England v IRELAND (Bangalore, World Cup – March 2, 2011)

Kevin O’Brien hit 113 off 63 balls as Ireland recovered from 111 for five to reach their target of 328 with five balls to spare and three wickets in hand.

Irish eyes are smiling: England were sunk by O'Brien's stunning innings

BANGLADESH v England (Chittagong, World Cup – March 11, 2011)

An heroic ninth-wicket stand between Shafiul Islam and Mahmudullah turned the tables on England. The pair put on 58 from 56 balls, helping to achieve a total of 227 for eight and a two-wicket win.

Painful viewing: Andrew Strauss can't bear to watch as Shafiul Islam and Mahmudullah celebrate the winning runs

Grand National shortened in bid to reduce horse deaths

Grand National shortened as safety changes bid to reduce horse deaths

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UPDATED:

13:20 GMT, 20 September 2012

The 2013 Grand National will be run over about half a furlong shorter after a safety review concluded that the start should be moved closer to the first of the 30 fences.

The review, conducted by both the BHA and Aintree, will result in a change in position of the starting line by around 90 yards. The hope is that this will reduce the speed built up by the field as they run to the first fence.

Procedural changes to the starting process will also include the establishment of an larger ‘no-go’ zone, defined by a line on the track away from the starting tape. This will be extended from 15 yards to around 30 yards from a starting tape, which will be made more visible.

Changes: The 2012 Grand National brought more chaotic scenes

Changes: The 2012 Grand National brought more chaotic scenes

There will also be a general drive throughout the jumps season to improve the starting process, particularly in big races. It is hoped this will help prevent the farcical scenes which saw two false starts in April and all 40 jockeys later told that they were in breach of starting regulations even though no charges were pressed.

The safety review, the second in two years, has been carried out after both Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and According To Pete died in this year’s race.

It was the second year running two horses have been killed in the most watched jumps race of the year, prompting calls for significant changes to the four and a half mile contest from animal welfare groups.

These included reducing the size of the 40-runner field and abolishing the drops on the landing sides of fences, particularly Becher’s Brook where According To Pete was fatally brought down by another faller.

Another significant proposal relates to the testing of a newly designed prototype fencer.

This specifically focuses on utilising materials other than the existing timber and protective rubber padding that make up the central frame of a fence, also known as the 'core'.

This work is now in development stage with prototype fences currently being assessed and it is planned that at a small number of fences be trialled with a different core at the Becher Chase meeting in December.
Fence heights will remain unchanged

John Baker, who runs Aintree Racecourse as part of his role as North West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “Balancing the Grand National’s enduring appeal whilst working to reduce risk in the race is a delicate but important balance to strike.

'In recent years, we have made significant investments in safety and believe today’s announcement demonstrates we will continue to do so whilst preserving the unique character and appeal of the nation’s favourite race.'

Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for the BHA, added: ‘Aintree and the BHA’s approach has been to reference the findings of the comprehensive 2011 Review, while taking account of any additional data and evidence collated from this year’s race.

'This includes the BHA’s thorough report into specific incidents in the 2012 running published in May. Following this year’s race, our priorities were to establish the facts surrounding the incidents that occurred during the running of the race and, secondly, to review the events which led to what was an unsatisfactory start to the race.

'We have worked closely with Aintree and consulted widely with jockeys, trainers and legitimate welfare organisations – the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare – on a range of elements related to the race.'

Horse charity World Horse Welfare has welcomed the changes but said it was disappointed that race organisers do not plan to trial a reduction in the number of horses running in next year’s race.

WHW chief executive Roly Owers said: 'We welcome Aintree’s demonstrated commitment to making the course safer and the changes proposed today which make good sense.

'We are especially encouraged by their programme of work on the fences, replacing the hard cores with softer materials to make them more forgiving to the horses. This has the potential to make a big difference to safety.

'However, we are disappointed that they have not proposed reducing the size of the field, although we note that they are keeping this under review.

'We believe that the number of fallers, unseated riders and horses being brought down by other horses in the National is too high (50 per cent in 2012).

'While there is clearly no magic formula here, changes need to be made to significantly reduce the faller rate which will reduce the number of injuries, fatalities and loose horses which pose risks to themselves and others on the course.

'We believe the single most effective way of doing this is to trial a reduction in the field size – say for three years.’

Sportsmail"s golden Olympics: Andy Hooper and Graham Chadwick showcase their top snaps

Sportsmail's golden Olympics: Andy Hooper and Graham Chadwick showcase their top snaps

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UPDATED:

21:10 GMT, 13 August 2012

Whether the action was on land or water, indoors or in the great outdoors, our award-winning photographers were on hand to capture the action.

Andy Hooper and Graham Chadwick pick their favourite images from a pulsating 16 days of Olympic sport.

Image of the Games: Andy Hooper chose his capture of an astonished Katherine Copeland and her partner Sophie Hosking as his shot of the Games. Nikon D3; 400mm lens with 1.4 converter. ISO 200, 1/1,000s @ f4

Image of the Games: Andy Hooper chose his capture of an astonished
Katherine Copeland and her partner Sophie Hosking as his shot of the Games. Nikon D3; 400mm lens with 1.4 converter. ISO 200, 1/1,000s @ f4

Top snap: Graham Chadwick picked his stunning picture of Jade Jones jumping on her coach after winning gold in the taekwondo. Nikon D3; 200mm lens. ISO 1600, 1/1,000s @ f2.8. Graham also captured Anthony Joshua's golden moment (right)

Gold: Joshua

Top snap: Graham Chadwick picked his stunning picture of Jade Jones jumping on her coach after winning gold in the taekwondo. Nikon D3; 200mm lens. ISO 1600, 1/1,000s @ f2.8. Graham also captured Anthony Joshua's golden moment (right)

Warming up: Victoria Pendleton gets on the rollers before the women's sprint

Warming up: Victoria Pendleton gets on the rollers before the women's sprint

Doubling up: Andy Hooper snapped Mo Farah claiming his second gold of the Games in the 5,000m

Doubling up: Andy Hooper snapped Mo Farah claiming his second gold of the Games in the 5,000m

Nailed it: Nigeria's Regina George competes int he 800m

Nailed it: Nigeria's Regina George competes int he 800m

Trailblazer: Gabby Douglas competes on the beam on the way to gold in the women's individual all-around final, her second of the Games

Trailblazer: Gabby Douglas competes on the beam on the way to gold in the women's individual all-around final, her second of the Games

First among unequals: Usain Bolt wins the 100m

First among unequals: Usain Bolt wins the 100m

Artistic: Sara Labrousse and Chloe Willhelm of France compete in the synchronised swimming doubles

Artistic: Sara Labrousse and Chloe Willhelm of France compete in the synchronised swimming doubles

Silver service: Lizzie Armitstead (second right) follows Marianne Vos on her way to claiming GB's first medal of the Games

Silver service: Lizzie Armitstead (second right) follows Marianne Vos on her way to claiming GB's first medal of the Games

All smiles: Michael Phelps becomes the most decorated Olympian of all time after winning gold in the 4x200m freestyle

All smiles: Michael Phelps becomes the most decorated Olympian of all time after winning gold in the 4x200m freestyle

London 2012 Olympics diving: Chris Mears and Nick Robinson-Baker finish fifth

Tears for Mears' proud parents after brave Brit finishes fifth in synchro diving final

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 1 August 2012

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Chris Mears' parents were left in tears in the Aquatics Centre grandstand after their 19-year-old son made his Olympic debut – three years after he almost lost his life during a junior competition in Australia.

Mears and springboard synchro partner Nick Robinson-Baker produced one of the performances of their careers to claim fifth in a high-quality final.

While world champions Qin Kai and Luo Yutong nervelessly clinched yet another diving gold for China, the emotion of the Britons' performance was plain to see at the end.

Fine finish: Chris Mears (R) and Nicholas Robinson-Baker finished fifth in the men's synchronised 3m springboard diving final

Fine finish: Chris Mears (R) and Nicholas Robinson-Baker finished fifth in the men's synchronised 3m springboard diving final

Mears was given just a five per cent chance of survival when he collapsed during the Youth Olympic Festival in January 2009 after rupturing his spleen performing a dive the previous day.

After initially being misdiagnosed with meningitis Mears lost five pints of blood and had his spleen removed after it was eventually discovered he had contracted the Epstein Barr virus.

He spent a month in an Australian hospital as he slowly made his way back to full health before beginning his journey to the Olympic Games and a performance to remember today.

'My parents are up there and they were crying,' Mears said.

Golden boys: Qin Kai (L) and Luo Yutong (R) celebrate another victory at the Games for China

Golden boys: Qin Kai (L) and Luo Yutong (R – and both pictured diving below) celebrate another victory at the Games for China

Qin Kai and Luo Yutong dive for a Chinese victory

'I know it means a lot to them and it definitely means a lot to me. To have come from where I came from in 2009 and now being in the Olympic Games and coming fifth in the world – I can't quite believe it actually.

'It is in the back of my mind and I think 'that's a really great achievement' but there's no negative input in that.

'I've come this far from pretty much rock-bottom and this is where I am now. I'm just so happy.'

Mears and Robinson-Baker had only been an outside hope of a medal, although a career-best second-placing behind the Chinese at the final World Series event in Mexico in April had them dreaming of a podium place.

Their score of 432.60 today was just shy of the personal best they posted in Mexico but stand-out performances from their rivals meant they were still 14.1 points short of a medal.

The Chinese were well clear in claiming their fourth diving gold and are on track for a clean sweep of the top podium, while Russia's Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov took silver.

United States pairing Kristian Ipsen and Troy Dumais – who collected his first Olympic medal at the fourth attempt – finished third.

'It isn't our PB, but 432 in the final of the Olympics Games, when it's probably been the highest standard it's ever been, was absolutely phenomenal for us. We're buzzing,' Robinson-Baker said.

Taking the plunge: Mears made his parents proud after competing just three years after he almost died

Taking the plunge: Mears made his parents proud after competing just three years after he almost died

'I could go and do it again now.

'We've got the two Russians who I think have amazing talent, they train so hard and it shows.

'The Americans are very experienced with Troy Dumais and Kristian and they've smashed it. That's what the sport is all about – going in there and competing and the best team wins.'

The fifth placing was also the equal-best performance by a British springboard synchro pairing – after Mark Shipman and Tony Ally managed the same result at Athens 2004.

'Fifth place. That makes us feel so happy that we are the equal most successful team on the springboard,' said Mears. 'That's just another thing to add to the excitement.'

Robinson-Baker revealed afterwards that he was set to take a mini break from the sport after the Games to recharge his batteries after nearly a decade in competition.

Walking away: Mears (R) and Robinson-Baker managed to finish fifth

Walking away: Mears (R) and Robinson-Baker managed to finish fifth

The 25-year-old hinted, though, that he would be keen to resume his partnership with Mears looking ahead to Rio 2016.

'I'll take a little break first. There is another four years to go,' he said.

'I know Chris is well up for that but I'm taking a little time out because I'm getting old. But roll on Rio.'

Mears' plans are more immediate as he is due to return to the Aquatics Centre next Monday for the preliminary round of the individual springboard.

'I''ve still got the individual in these Olympics so I don't want to look too far into the future just yet,' he said.

'I'm concentrating on the now, my training has been brilliant and I think I showed that in the pool today.'

London 2012 Olympics: Tom Daley urged to ditch Twitter after teenager reprimanded over threats

Daley urged to ditch Twitter after youth reprimanded by police over vile threats

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UPDATED:

19:24 GMT, 31 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
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A 17-year-old youth arrested after a
malicious tweet was sent to Olympic diver Tom Daley has been issued with
a harassment warning.

Dorset police said the teenager was bailed pending an investigation into other communications on his Twitter account.

He was detained at a guesthouse in Weymouth hours after 18-year-old Daley received messages on the social networking site.

Daley and his Team GB diving partner
Pete Waterfield missed out on a medal on Monday when they finished
fourth in the men's synchronised 10-metre platform diving event at the
Olympics.

Annoyed: Tom Daley hit out at the Twitter troll

Annoyed: Tom Daley hit out at the Twitter troll

Shortly afterwards, Daley retweeted a message from a user which said: 'You let your dad down i hope you know that.'

Daley responded by tweeting: 'After giving it my all… you get idiots sending me this…'

Daley's father Rob died last year from brain cancer.

Tom Daley was set to be urged to take a break from Twitter after receiving malicious messages.

Edged out: Daley and partner Peter Waterfield finished in fourth

Edged out: Daley and partner Peter Waterfield finished in fourth

British Olympic Association chef de
mission Andy Hunt said Daley needed to make a decision over his use of
the social-network website.

Daley – who Hunt claimed received
50,000 tweets on the day of Friday's opening ceremony of London 2012 –
will be advised to keep off Twitter two days before he competes in the
individual version of his event on August 10.

Asked if the 18-year-old needed to
stay away from the website from now until then, Hunt said today: 'That
is absolutely something that the coaching team will discuss with Tom.

'They need to make the decision based on what they've experienced over the past 24 hours.

'Everyone knows if you use social media extensively, you have to accept you get bad as well as good.

'Sometimes bad is wholly unacceptable, as we experienced last night, and that's been dealt with by the relevant authorities.'

Sorry: Waterfield (right) apologised to Daley after a bad dive

Sorry: Waterfield (right) apologised to Daley after a bad dive

Too much: The pair made it too hard for themselves on the last dive

Too much: The pair made it too hard for themselves on the last dive

An apparent apology to Daley followed
from @Rileyy-69 last night but it has been alleged he later posted an
expletive-laden rant including a threat to 'drown' Daley.

Hunt branded the @Rileyy-69 tweets –
which the BOA said they had Twitter delete – as 'a threat' but insisted
Daley had not been affected by them.

'I've met this morning with Tom's coach and some of his other support staff,' Hunt added.

'Tom isn't affected by it and the team are absolutely focused on getting ready for the next round of competition.'

Daley's synchro partner Peter Waterfield tweeted this morning: 'For all
the haters out there, come do what we do then have ur say, Infact
achieve what we do, low life pr”ck! Until then shut ur mouth! Tom done
great it was my fault.'

Daley's close friend and Team GB diving team-mate Tonia Couch refused to
be drawn on whether the teenager should curtail his use of
Twitter.

Disappointment: The duo leave the pool afterwards

Disappointment: The duo leave the pool afterwards

Couch, who also failed to win a medal in the women's synchro this
afternoon in front of the watching Daley, said: 'Tom's a strong boy.

'He can concentrate on what he needs to do and, at the end of the day, Twitter's Twitter.

'You don't need to look at it if you don't want to.'

Asked what she made of the abuse Daley had suffered, Couch added: 'Not much really, neither has Tom.

'We're just concentrating on the Olympics. That's what we're here to do.'

Despite the abuse of Daley and the expulsion of two athletes from London
2012 for sending offensive tweets, Hunt insisted the BOA did not need
to review their social-network guidelines.

They have largely left it up to individual sports and athletes when and
how often they tweet, revealing today the women's water polo team had
elected for a blanket ban, while hockey had a three-hour blackout around
match time.

Hunt added: 'We always said two year ago this was going to be the Twitter Games.'

Deputy Mayor of the Olympic Village Duncan Goodhew, a gold and bronze
medallist in swimming at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, described the
behaviour of the Twitter troll as 'appalling'.

London 2012 Olympics: Tom Daley claims Qiu Bo is a robot

British diving hope Daley believes 'robot' Bo could buckle under pressure in London

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UPDATED:

09:28 GMT, 21 July 2012

Tom Daley hopes the pressure of competing at an Olympic Games will affect diving rival Qiu Bo, whom the Briton has labelled a 'robot'.

Daley is one of Great Britain's hopes for gold in London and will compete in in two events this summer, starting with the men's 10metre synchronised platform alongside partner Peter Waterfield on July 30.

Nearly two weeks later, on the penultimate day of the Games, he will aim for gold in the individual 10m platform – a standard he reached in the European Championships in May.

Head over heels: Tom Daley has two chances of winning gold in London

Head over heels: Tom Daley has two chances of winning gold in London

He will come up against tough opposition in both events, none more formidable than Qiu of China.

Even Daley's coach Andy Banks revealed he had never seen a diver as consistent as strong or consistent as the reigning 10m platform world champion.

But Daley told the Guardian: 'The Chinese have got a different way of working. They're taken out of school and away from their families. There's just this conveyor belt of Chinese divers and they work them until they break and then the next one comes along and trains.

'So it's completely different. I train five hours a day, six days a week, which is a lot. But the Chinese guys are maybe doing seven hours of training, and working so hard. But they don't have a life. I do. I'm not constantly thinking about diving.

Rivals: Qiu Bo (centre) will be the favourite for gold in London

Rivals: Qiu Bo (centre) will be the favourite for gold in London

'He's (Qiu) like a robot. Or he has been known to be like a robot.'

However, Daley has pinpointed a weakness in the 19-year-old, adding: 'Pressure sometimes gets to him. You have to be able to dive as well as him to put pressure on him. Because if you don't put pressure on him he's not going to buckle. So it's tough.

'But when I won the worlds [in 2009] he did buckle. On the last dive I scored 10s and he dived after me and didn't do his dive very well. But we've been up against each other a lot.

'He beat me by two points at the junior worlds [in 2008] but I beat him at the senior worlds. I also beat him in world series events in 2009 and 2010. I've beaten him four times but, otherwise, he's been pretty dominant.'

London 2012 Olympics: Tom Daley says village is awesome

Awesome! Diver Daley gives his verdict on Olympic Village

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UPDATED:

09:44 GMT, 19 July 2012

Diving medal hopeful Tom Daley has given his approval to the athletes' village at London 2012.

Daley and the Team GB diving squad stayed at the Olympic Park on Monday night after completing a practice session at the aquatic centre.

They have since returned to their pre-camp base in Southend where they are putting the finishing touches to preparations for the Games.

Backing: Tom Daley likes the Olympic Village

Backing: Tom Daley likes the Olympic Village

'The athletes' village is awesome, it really is. I didn't want to come back to Southend because we were immersed in the atmosphere!' Daley said.

'It was very different to 2008 because Beijing was a lot bigger, but London's a lot more compact, which makes it easier to get around.

'We've been running around like headless chickens trying to see and do everything. It's an awesome place.

'We were the first British team to enter the Olympic village so it was really exciting.

'We wanted to stay there and get into the competition spirit, but we've been brought away from it so that we don't get pumped up too early.

'You don't want to be in the competition atmosphere for too long because it can be quite draining, so we were taken away so that we come back fresh on the 25th.

Draining: Daley says too much of a good thing can hurt

Draining: Daley says too much of a good thing can hurt

'The rooms are very nice. Really clean and modern. I've decorated mine with good luck cards and balloons.'

Daley is competing in two events, starting with the men's 10m synchronised platform alongside partner Peter Waterfield on July 30.

Nearly two weeks later, on the penultimate day of the Games, he will aim for gold in the individual 10m platform – a standard he reached in the European championships in May.

'For me it's about doing the best six dives that I possibly can,' the 18-year-old said.

Dream: Daley is aiming for gold

Dream: Daley is aiming for gold

'My dream is to win an Olympic gold medal, or any Olympic medal, but dreams and reality are two different things.

'Diving is such an on-the-day sport that no one knows what will happen because there are so many divers who can win.

'For me it's about focusing on the process of each individual dive rather than the outcome.'

London 2012 Olympics: Tom Daley to dedicate any medal to his late father

I'm doing this for my dad… Daley hoping to dedicate gold medal to his late father

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UPDATED:

15:03 GMT, 18 July 2012

Tom Daley will dedicate any medal he wins at London 2012 to the memory of his inspirational father Robert.

Robert was instrumental in helping Daley establish himself as one of the world's top divers before he lost a long battle with brain cancer in May last year.

The 18-year-old keeps his dad's ashes in his bedroom and views him as the greatest influence on a career that will enter the stratosphere should he strike gold in either of his two events.

Relaxed: Tom Daley at a Team GB training session at the Southend Diving Centre on Wednesday

Relaxed: Tom Daley at a Team GB training session at the Southend Diving Centre on Wednesday

'Winning a medal would make all the struggles that I've had worth while,' Daley said. 'It's been my dream since a very young age to compete at an Olympics. I did that in Beijing for the experience, but now I want a good performance.

'I'm doing it for myself and my dad. It was both our dreams from a very young age.

'I always wanted to do it and dad was so supportive of everything. It would make it extra special to do it for him.

'I've got to try and win the medal first, but definitely I'd dedicate it to him.

'He's the person who helped me and gave me all the inspiration that I've needed. He taught me all the lessons in life that I needed.'

Daley is competing in two events starting with the men's 10m synchronised platform alongside partner Peter Waterfield on July 30.

Balancing act: Daley will compete in the 10m synchronised platform and the individual 10m platform

Balancing act: Daley will compete in the 10m synchronised platform and the individual 10m platform

Nearly two weeks later, on the penultimate day of the Games, he will aim for gold in the individual 10m platform – a standard he reached in the European championships in May.

'For me it's about doing the best six dives that I possibly can,' he said.
'My dream is to win an Olympic gold medal, or any Olympic medal, but dreams and reality are two different things.

'Diving is such an on-the-day sport that no one knows what will happen because there are so many divers who can win.

'For me it's about focusing on the process of each individual dive rather than the outcome.'

China's world No 1 Qiu Bo will provide the greatest threat to Daley's hopes of securing individual gold and the Plymouth Diving Club product insists victory will be decided by who best handles the pressure.

'Chinese divers tend to dominate everything to the extent that winning a silver is like winning a gold,' he said.

Dreaming: Daley hopes to win Olympic gold despite the excellence of his Chinese rival Qiu Bo

Dreaming: Daley hopes to win Olympic gold despite the excellence of his Chinese rival Qiu Bo

'Qiu Bo has been unbeaten for a very long time now and has been diving so well.

'It will be interesting to see what happens on the day. It's his first Olympic games and he's one year older than me.

'He's been put through the Chinese diving system from a very young ago, but anything can happen. It's about who performs on the day.'

Daley and his fellow Team GB diving squad members stayed in the athletes' village on Monday night before returning to Southend for their Games pre-camp.

Even though the time spent at the Olympic Park was brief, Daley insists it has whetted the appetite for what is to come.

Harmony: Daley and Waterfield practice for the synchronised competition in Southend

Harmony: Daley and Waterfield practice for the synchronised competition in Southend

'It's awesome, it really is. I didn't want to come back to Southend because we were immersed in the atmosphere!' he said. 'It was very different to 2008 because Beijing was a lot bigger, but London's a lot more compact, which makes it easier to get around.

'We've been running around like headless chickens trying to see and do everything. It's an awesome place.

'We were the first British team to enter the Olympic village so it was really exciting.

'We wanted to stay there and get into the competition spirit, but we've been brought away from it so that we don't get pumped up too early.

'You don't want to be in the competition atmosphere for too long because it can be quite draining, so we were taken away so that we come back fresh on the 25th.

'The rooms are very nice. Really clean and modern. I've decorated mine with good luck cards and balloons.'