Tom Daley's double gold at Commonwealth Games
TOM DALEY has won his second gold medal of the Commonwealth Games with a thrilling and narrow victory over Australian Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham.
Plymouth's Daley produced an outstanding display of nerve and ability in Delhi yesterday to win gold with 538.35 points and beat Mitcham by 29.20 points.
Daley's success was his second of the 2010 Games, having partnered England team-mate and fellow teenager Max Brick to synchro gold on Tuesday.
Brick did not feature in the medals yesterday, coming eighth with Malaysia's Bryan Nickson Lomas completing the final podium composition by claiming the bronze medal.
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In what was billed as a shoot-out between England and Plymouth's reigning world champion and Australia's in-form Olympic 10m title holder – it was Mitcham who blinked first and 2009 kingpin Daley who prevailed.
The 16-year-old, who returns to Plymouth tomorrow, was naturally thrilled and delighted at both seeing off one of his diving heroes and doubling his gold tally, after going into the Games perilously short of competition practice after tearing his triceps back in August.
Daley said: "It has been a complete whirlwind – after coming back from an injury with only three-to-four weeks of 10m training, and being on top of my game is brilliant."
"I knew Matt Mitcham has been on top form because he was the World Cup champion this year.
"To come away with the gold and get ahead of him makes me so happy."
Daley's tactics were spot on at Delhi's Dr SP Mukherjee Aquatics Complex and he coolly cranked up the pressure on 22-year-old Mitcham, who was the Devonian's only real challenger for the title.
The Plymouth College student had opted to execute his trickiest dives first, while Mitcham left himself difficult routines in his sixth and final dive, and finally lost his nerve.
Daley showed no signs of being uncomfortable, despite being unable to defend his European title two months earlier in Budapest having injured his triceps muscle.
After coming through qualification yesterday Daley eased into his groove recording perfect 10s on his third dive in the final and led Mitcham from the fourth round onwards.
Daley's club and Team England coach Andy Banks had nothing but praise for the young city star, who dedicated yesterday's win to his dad Rob, presently undergoing chemotherapy and who remained in Plymouth
Banks said: "It was an absolutely brilliant competition, which was always very close.
"Tom was very focused and did a great job and held his nerve, while the other guy (Mitcham) dropped his dive at the end.
"It was a deserved win as Matt was following Tom pretty much throughout and certainly leading up to the endgame."
The self-effacing Banks paid credit to the medical team who had led to the camp adopting a softly-softly approach with Daley leading up to the Games in Delhi.
"The medical guys have done a fantastic job in getting Tom fit," said Banks. "And, to Tom's great credit, he's come up trumps like he does.
"I'm a facilitator in the process – all the work comes through Tom. He's a great operator and did another great job today."