Tom Daley's great rival Qiu Bo admits struggle with expectation

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Tom Daley and Qiu Bo dive together in China

World Champion Qiu Bo says overcoming his own self-doubts poses a greater challenge than Britain's Tom Daley.

Bo was the favourite to claim 10m platform gold in London, but had to settle for silver behind US diver David Boudia, with Daley claiming bronze.

"I think my biggest rival is myself," stated Bo.

"Because China is so close to the gold medal and so keen to get it, some psychological problems occur which our rivals can take an advantage of."

Bo, 19, famously blew his final dive at the 2009 world championships in Rome to hand a 15-year-old Daley gold.

As such, despite winning the event two years later, the man generally regarded as the most talented diver on the planet has been accused of failing to deliver consistently at major events.

However, Daley, who was speaking after a synchronised 10m platform dive alongside Bo at a promotional event in China, believes the Chinese star will continue to challenge for honours for many years to come.

"Qiu Bo is an amazing diver and he's going to be very tough to beat in the future," said Daley, 18.

"He's only going to get better so in Rio 2016 it's going to be a very tough competition but it will be interesting."

Qiu's perfect 10's deny Daley World medal

Between the 2009 World Championship, where he won gold, and 2011, where Daley finished fifth, he grew approximately five inches in height and put on around 15kgs [just over two stone] in muscle.

Leon Taylor, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, said it was "incredible" the young diver managed to remain as high as he did in the rankings and go on to win Olympic bronze.

Bo too feels that Daley's size will be key in the next few years.

"He will be a great diver if he doesn't grow any more," stated Bo. "He has a great sense for the water and a great feeling while turning over in the air."

Following Daley's gold medal winning performance alongside Jack Laugher at the world junior championships in the synchronised 3m springboard event last month, GB performance director Alexei Evangulov suggested the teenager could compete in more 3m events.

Taller athletes traditionally find success easier to achieve on the springboard that the 10m platform.

Olympic diving: Tom Daley profile