Peter Waterfield feels criticism of diver Tom Daley is wrong

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Don't drive Daley out - Waterfield

Tom Daley's synchronised partner Peter Waterfield wants British Swimming to end public criticism of the diver.

Chief executive David Sparkes spoke outexternal-link after Daley's appearance on ITV's Splash! programme at the weekend.

It led to Daley's mother, Debbie, writing an open letter in the Daily Mail stating British Swimming should thank Tom for winning Olympic bronze.

"I don't think that anyone who wants to criticise him should do it through the newspapers," Waterfield told BBC Sport.

"I'm sure he [David Sparkes] wants to cover himself in case Tom doesn't get medals, but they should talk to him in person about it because I think it's wrong to do it through the media.

"Despite all of the pressure Tom's been working as hard as he possibly can and delivering the results that everyone wants him to get and yet he's still being criticised."

Problems between British Swimming and the Daley camp emerged in early 2012, with the sport's performance director Alexei Evangulov stating Chinese divers trained harderexternal-link than the 18-year-old Briton.

He also suggested suggested Daley, who qualified for the Beijing Olympics at the age of 13 and won World Championship gold the following year, was in danger of becoming the next Anna Kournikovaexternal-link if he did not curb his media interests.

It was a view Sparkes shared and while not agreeing with all aspects of their criticisms Daley took their advice onboard, and after losing weight for the Olympic Games, thanked Evangulov for helping him achieve a podium finish.

On Thursday British Swimming said they would not issue a response to Debbie Daley's public letter, but maintain that some of the concerns they raised in 2012 remain and that they would be seeking a meeting with the Daley camp in the coming weeks.

"If you gave Tom the choice to do media or diving, he would choose diving," Waterfield told BBC Sport.

Daley dives to London Olympic bronze

"But in our sport our body takes a lot of impact so we do need a rest and if you're having rest and have offers and decide to do shows or media or things like that then why wouldn't you?

"We aren't competing again until April internationally so he's had a bit of time to have a bit of relaxation and do other things that he wouldn't be able to do in full time training."

Waterfield backed the teenager to come back stronger from this latest controversy.

"Tom's only young and I think the best is still to come out of him," stated Waterfield.

"You peak in our sport in your twenties so I definitely think he has a lot more to give and in Rio he could bring back that gold."

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