Tom Daley and Tonia Couch encouraged by their medal displays in Dubai

tomD2PLYMOUTH divers Tonia Couch and Tom Daley have taken great encouragement from their medal-winning displays at the World Series event in Dubai.

Couch won bronze in the women’s individual platform final with a score of 367.70 points.

The city Olympian had led for the first two rounds but was eventually overtaken by Chinese stars Ruolin Chen and Huixia Liu.

Daley went one better than Couch, winning silver medal in the men’s platform with a new personal best score of 578.15 points. He managed to split the top two Chinese divers, with world champion Qiu Bo winning with a staggering 612.75 points, which was also a new personal best for him. Bo’s teeam-mate Jian Yang was third with 563.90.

In a high-quality final all six divers finished with more than 512 points.

Daley and Couch’s medals on the final day of the event capped a highly successful competition for Great Britain, as Jack Laugher had claimed gold in the three-metre springboard on the second day.

Afterwards Daley said: “It’s definitely nice to know that China are beatable now. It’s just about making sure that you put as much pressure on them as possible, because who knows what can happen in competition, as we saw in the men’s three-metre (with Jack Laugher winning gold). You just have to keep plugging away and try to chase them. We are catching up.”

Couch added: “Four years ago there was no such thing as beating the Chinese but now we’re getting close. The men have caught them up completely, the women have still a little bit to catch up but we’re right behind them.”

Couch was thrilled with how she dived in Dubai and the support she and the other British divers received at the Hamdan Sports Complex.

“I’ve never led before in my life, so definitely I’ll remember this competition,” she said.

“The crowd was amazing. Everybody was behind me and behind GB, it was great, I think it helped.”

National performance director Alexei Evangulov said of Tonia’s display in Dubai: “Tonia’s bronze medal is a special one. She really scared her non-Chinese rivals with her consistency (367 points in both semi-final and final) having yielded only to two Chinese Olympic champions. Well done to both Andy (Banks) and Tonia.”

The next World Series event is in Kazan between April 24-26. The competition then moves to London, taking place at the Olympic Pool over the weekend of May 1-3.


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