Pickering: In-demand Daley needs to discuss training schedule

FORMER Olympic swimmer and Commonwealth gold medalist Karen Pickering believes Great Britain hope Tom Daley needs to sit down and discuss his training schedule with his coaching team.

The FINA Diving World Cup begins on Monday and this week, GB’s Diving Performance Director, Alexei Evangulov suggested the 17-year must cut back on his media commitments or risk missing out on a medal at the Olympics.

Pickering, who will be commentating for BBC Radio 5 Live at the event in London, which doubles up as an Olympic test event, managed to conduct a five-minute interview with the talented teenager this week.

Sports Ambassador to Ipswich Pickering suggested Daley’s sponsorship commitments also took up a large chunk of his time and said his preparations prior to London 2012 needed to be talked about with Evangulov.

“Tom is massively in demand but I don’t think he is doing that much media work. It is very hard to get him for an interview and the day I spoke to him was on the day that all the GB team were carrying out media commitments,” she said.

“He also has his work with his sponsors to fit in too.

“His performance director knows him best and the two parties need to discuss his schedule.

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“As an athlete you have got to do the interviews but you have also have to do the work, otherwise there will be nothing to talk about afterwards.”

Daley has since released a statement through his family since Evangulov’s comments, saying: “Diving, family and school have always been the priority for Tom.

“This is 90% of his life. Corporate, media work and friends form the remaining 10%.”

“The comparisons with China may be relevant from a sporting perspective, but are less valid from a cultural and human one,” the statement added.

“We turn down over 95% of media and commercial approaches for Tom.

“We only work with a small team of sponsors and ensure that any media is either necessary or - very occasionally - fun, given Tom’s interest and studies in both photography and media.

“We fully agree that British public expectation is too high around Tom,” the statement continued.

“Qui Bo from China is very much the gold medal favourite. In tennis terms, he is Novak Djokovic, the man to beat following an unbeaten 2011.

“Qui Bo may yet become the greatest diver of all time. However we are all very focused on ensuring that Tom has every chance for success in London this summer.”

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