Tom Daley in row with dive partner Blake Aldridge - Beijing Olympics

Posted on 9:25 AM by Sameer Shah

The pair, who had backed themselves as outside chances for a medal in Beijing came last in the Men's 10m synchronised diving, performing well below their previous personal best.

Simmering tension between two broke out into an open mid-competition argument as they prepared to make the final of their six dives at Beiijing's Water Cube aquatics centre.

Speaking after the competition 26-year-old Aldridge revealed that his teenage partner had 'had a pop' at him after he saw him making hand signals to his mother who was watching from the stands.

"When we were sitting down I saw my mum in the audience and I asked her to give me a call but Tom went to me: 'What are you on the phone for? We're in a competition and we've got another dive to do'.

Blaming his partner for the poor performance, Aldridge added: "That is just Thomas being over-nervous. That's how it was today. Tom should not be worrying about what I'm doing. Today he was worrying about everyone and everything, and that for me is really the sole reason why he didn't perform today."

Aldridge, who believed Beijing was his last and best chance for an Olympic medal, said Daley had been too nervous to perform at his best and had his head turned by the front-page publicity he has attracted in China where diving is a high-profile sport.

Daley made the front page of the English language China Daily newspaper's Olympic supplement, beneath the headline, "Peking Tom – why everyone's looking at this 14-year-old darling diver".

He has told of the excitement of being recognized around the Olympic Village and other divers during practice session, telling how at one point he was followed round Beijing by a gaggle of excited Chinese girls.

Aldridge added: "I think it [the publicity] is the sole reason it went the way it did today, to be honest. I'm not disappointed with my performance at all. I landed on my head on every single dive, which is what my aim was.

"I could have dived better but it was hard work for me today. Tom was very, very nervous, more so than ever before, and I think he really struggled to get through the competition."

The pair, who won a bronze medal in the World Cup to qualify for the Olympics, scored just 408 points from six dives, compared with a personal best figure of 446 which would have won them a respectable fourth place yesterday.

"I knew we were capable of a medal going into these Olympic Games, but I knew that it would depend on how Tom performed. In a synchro team you have to be on the top of your game both at the same time, and today that didn't happen," Aldridge added.

"I wasn't on the top of my game, but I out-dived Thomas today, and that's not something that normally happens. That to me is because Tom had a lot more pressure on him than I did."

Speaking before his team-mate, Daley, from Plymouth, Devon was more sanguine in defeat, saying that he was looking forward to competing in the individual 10m platform event later this week.

"We obviously didn't dive very well. It was disappointing but it was a great experience and I really enjoyed myself and had so much fun out there. That's all you can ask for – getting the experience," he said.

"This was all about getting experience for 2012, as I've always said, and now I've got rid of all the cobwebs I can go into the individual event with more confidence.

He admitted that he had been nervous before the start, but gave no hint of the tensions which had split the partnership.

"We prepared for it like a normal competition but it just wasn't our day today. We put 100 per cent effort into every dive we did but we just didn't pull it off," he said.

"There was lots of pressure on me and I was very nervous but I was also excited at doing it and couldn't wait to get out there."

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