'Don't push him out of the sport'

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iol sport pic jan9 Tom Daley Reuters Tom Daley doing what he does best.

The coach of British diver Tom Daley warned on Wednesday that the 18-year-old Olympic bronze medallist could turn his back on the sport if he continues to be criticised over his media engagements.

Daley was criticised on Tuesday by British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes, who said that projects such as reality television programme “Splash!”, which Daley is fronting, could wait until the end of his competitive career.

“You can rest assured the next Chinese diving superstar will not have such distractions from training,” he said.

Last year, the British Olympic team's performance director Alexei Evangulov expressed similar concerns, but Daley's coach, Andy Banks, says the criticism is more harmful than the television work itself.

“There's a danger here that if Tom gets too much grief all the time then he'll say, 'I'm quite enjoying my TV stuff. Diving was great but I've done it for 10 years, so see you later. I'm off,'“ Banks said.

“I'd hate for him to be pushed out of the sport because he no longer enjoys it, due to people giving him too much grief.

“At the moment he is still in a position where he really enjoys what he's doing, but watch this space. Four years is a long time and a lot of water is going to flow under the bridge between now and then.” - AFP



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