British Olympic diving hope Tom Daley described Chinese rival Qiu Bo as a “robot” on Saturday and predicted the Asian giants could buckle under pressure to deliver a gold medal sweep.
Four years ago in Beijing, China won seven out of eight gold, their quest for perfection falling agonisingly short when Australia’s Matthew Mitcham won the 10m platform.
Daley will look to add the Olympic individual 10m platform to the European title he won in May, but Qiu of China will start as the overwhelming favourite.
The 19-year-old Qiu won two gold medals at the world championships in Shanghai last year. But Daley believes China may pay a high price for their obsessive pursuit of gold at the London Games.
“The Chinese have got a different way of working. They’re taken out of school and away from their families. There’s just this conveyor belt of Chinese divers and they work them until they break and then the next one comes along and trains,” Daley told the Guardian.
“So it’s completely different. I train five hours a day, six days a week, which is a lot. But the Chinese guys are maybe doing seven hours of training, and working so hard. But they don’t have a life. I do. I’m not constantly thinking about diving. He’s (Qiu) like a robot. Or he has been known to be like a robot.”
Daley has pinpointed a weakness in his teenage rival. “Pressure sometimes gets to him. You have to be able to dive as well as him to put pressure on him. Because if you don’t put pressure on him he’s not going to buckle. So it’s tough,” said the Briton. “But when I won the worlds in 2009 he did buckle. On the last dive I scored 10s and he dived after me and didn’t do his dive very well,” he added.