Coach slams Tom Daley for doing too much media work
'The people in Great Britain are mistakenly convinced that he is the best in the world. He's not'
TEENAGE diver Tom Daley, who won the nation's hearts as a 14-year-old at the Beijing Olympics, risks missing out on glory at London 2012 because of his media profile, says his coach who delivered a stinging rebuke to his charge a week before his first competition of the year.
Asked if his commitments away from the pool were damaging to his chances Alexei Evangulov replied with an emphatic "yes", and added: "The people in Great Britain are mistakenly convinced that he is the best in the world, but he is not."
Daley is one of the highest profile athletes in Team GB and has expressed a wish to move into TV once his diving career is over. He has sponsorship deals with Adidas, Nestle and Mini and will appear in Olympic themed promotions in the run up to the Games, reports The Guardian.
He proved he is no shrinking violet last week when he appeared in an excruciating video with other members of the British diving team, dancing on a beach and lip synching along to the pop song Sexy And I Know It, clad only in his skimpy diving trunks.
Now it seems Evangulov, the team's performance director, has run out of patience with the effervescent Daley, who finished in fifth place at the world diving championships last year.
Evangulov warned that Daley's Chinese rivals worked "three times harder" than him. "I know how the Chinese are training and they work much harder," he said. "If you compare them to Thomas, he has many commitments in his media activities... I would recommend Tom to make not so many commitments to the media."
He implied that Daley deserved to finish fifth last year and even suggested that his victory at the 2009 world championships was down to the mistakes of his rivals. "It wasn't the real thing," he said.
Daley himself has insisted that his celebrity status does not affect him and that he is on "complete media lock-down" before competitions.