TOM DALEY admitted he could hardly believe what he achieved on the final day of diving at the World Aquatic Championships in Budapest.
Daley put aside last year’s Olympic disappointment to become men’s world 10m champion and take a silver medal in the mixed three-metre synchro with Grace Reid.
The synchro competition proved to be a perfect warm-up for the greatest individual performance of his life.
Daley produced six near-perfect dives in Hungary to regain the world title he last won as a 15-year-old in 2009.
He had to be at his very best to win as Chinese divers Aisen Chen, the 2016 Olympic champion, and Jian Yang were also in top form.
All three divers score more than 565 points, with Daley scoring a championship record-breaking 590.95 points.
That was 50 more that he had scored to win the world title eight years ago.
Chen finished second with 585.25 and Yang 565.15 points. Those three divers were head and shoulders above the rest, with Russia’s Aleksandr Bondar taking fourth with 484.80 points.
Daley picked up 12 10-out-of-10s during the final in Budapest.
Afterwards he said: “I can’t quite believe what has happened today – claiming silver in the synchro with Grace and then a gold in the individual event.
“I’m so happy with how it has gone, considering last year I didn’t get to make the final in the Olympics. It really does make it special.”
Daley went into his last dive knowing he needed nines or 10s to win, but he handled the pressure remarkably, scoring a staggering 106.20 for his back three-and-a-half somersault tuck dive.
“It was a very close competition all the way to the end,” said Daley.
“To beat the Olympic Champion does feel nice and knowing that my score today would’ve won gold in Rio makes me feel good and helps me put Rio to bed.
“To be able to go out there and deliver when it matters is something that I’ve really been working
“The atmosphere here today felt like a little bit of a home crowd and that really helped me I think.”