Tom Daley says coach Evangulov good for GB Olympic diving

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

European champion Tom Daley insists the row with GB performance director Alexei Evangulov over the diver's media commitments is firmly "in the past".

In February, Evangulov suggested Daley's career could emulate that of Russian tennis player Anna Kournikovaexternal-link if he did not spend more time training.

"Alexei is what British diving has needed - he has really shaken the GB Olympic team," said Daley.

"I've trained as hard as I can and we have a really good relationship."

Evangulov admits he was "surprised" by the media reaction to his comments earlier in the year, when he suggested that, like Kournikova, Daley was in danger of being more famous as a celebrity than for sporting achievement.

But he said he had been impressed by Daley's subsequent performances since the disappointment of finishing seventh alongside Peter Waterfield at the Olympic test event.

"Tom has a great personality, but it's not enough to be a great athlete - you have to work hard," said the Russian.

"[Tom] works hard and his training volume is high, but I'm a greedy coach and I want more."

Evangulov added: "Tom's competed well, getting medals in the World Series individually and in synchro, but I'm tough and demanding - that's it."

Daley, Waterfield, Stacie Powell and Jack Laugher confirmed at GB Diving's news conference that they would all be attending Friday's Olympic opening ceremony.

Waterfield and Daley will compete together on day three of the Games, Monday 30 August, but they dismissed any concerns that their attendance could affect their performances in the 10m platform synchronised final.

"The question was asked, but we have a few days before we compete after the ceremony so it shouldn't affect us," said Waterfield.

"If it was a different Olympics we may have made a different decision, but we couldn't miss that experience at a home Games."

Daley continued: "We had a big discussion and decided that the psychological benefits of getting out there and hearing that support and applause would outweigh any other reason not for doing it."

The double Commonwealth champion also revealed that in the 11-day gap between competing in the 10m synchronised and individual competitions he will leave the athletes' village and return to GB Diving's pre-Games base in Southend, Essex.

"From my experience working with the Russian team we always try to escape from the Olympic environment because you can be exhausted emotionally," Evangulov said.

"You can be good physically but emotionally you can be tired.

"That's why we decided to get a rest from the Olympic environment - we needed some solitude."

Alexei Evangulov and Tom Daley
Alexei Evangulov and Tom Daley both insist that any issues between them concerning the diver's training regime and media commitments are firmly in the past