Daley impresses on his return to competitive diving action

TOM DALEY picked up two gold medals on his return to competitive diving following the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2017 world champion won both the men’s 10m individual contest and the synchro competition, alongside Matty Lee, at the Virtual Nations Challenge.

The inaugural event – organised and hosted by Diving Canada – saw British, Canadian, Jamaican and South African athletes competing against each other from their own training centres, with scoring done as usual and each dive live streamed in the normal diving format.

Daley was up against fellow Plymothian Matthew Dixon and London team-mate Noah Williams in the individual final, as well as divers from Canada.

Williams had topped the preliminary round with Daley second and Dixon third.

But Daley showed his class in the final by winning with 526.30 points, with his final two dives scoring 99.90 points and 100.80 points to move clear of Williams, who took second.

Dixon, who had won last year’s British Championships with more than 500 points, had to settle for fourth in the final with 431.40 points. In his first competition for more than a year, he was keeping pace with Daley and Williams at the halfway stage but his entries were a bit short on his fourth and fifth dives which cost him a medal.

Daley and Lee easily won the men’s platform synchro final with 423.70 points.

Former Marjon student Robyn Birch came third in a strong women’s 10m final with 332.30 points. She was only beaten by Canadians Meaghan Benfeito and Caeli McKay.

Daley, Dixon and Birch were due to represent Great Britain at this month’s FINA World Cup in Tokyo, but that event now looks like it will be cancelled.

The World Cup is supposed to be both a qualifier and test event for this summer’s Olympics but aquatics governing body FINA say they are reviewing it, although the BBC have been told it has been cancelled due to problems around Covid-19 measures.

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