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Waterfeld defends Daley after reaching semi-final
10:37pm Friday 24th February 2012 in General Sport
Tom Daley's dive partner Pete Waterfield wants to move on from the public feud with coach Alexei Evangulov following the Russian's latest inflammatory comments.
British Diving performance director Evangulov last night likened Daley's career to that of fallen-star former tennis player Anna Kournikova.
The comments came a week after Evangulov warned the teenage former world champion's media commitments were jeopardising his Olympic hopes, while also claiming his Chinese rivals "trained three times harder".
"It reminds me of the situation in Russia with Kournikova," Evangulov told the Daily Mail.
"She looked pretty and made a promising start to her career but the media exposure meant she never got to be the best. She is still in the celebrity news but she never achieved her full potential.
"I am angry because nobody will listen to me. If he stopped all his media work now, I might be able to get him up to the third best diver.
"I don't mind what he does if he gets the medal. He can become a rock star."
Waterfield came out in defence of Daley before the comments last night, after the pair could only claim seventh in the final of the platform synchro.
And after hearing about Evangulov's latest comments today Waterfield, who qualified for the semi-final of the individual platform this afternoon, was keen to move on.
"I didn't know he said anything. I'm just here doing my job," he said.
Asked if he would like to move on from the feud, he said: "Everything is about going to London.
"We're all working as hard as we can. We're all doing the best job that we can. That's what I'm here to do and that's what we're all here to do.
"We're all going to be putting in 100 per cent to what we do because it is our home Olympics."
The 30-year-old was more unequivocal last night, pointing to their limited preparations for this meet due to injury as the reason for their performance last night.
The pair had been in a medal position until missing a front four-and-a-half somersault - the same dive Waterfield failed to land again today as he did just enough to get through in 16th.
"We didn't miss a dive because Tom has being doing too much media," he said.
"We missed a dive because we're had setbacks with injuries at the beginning of the year. I think it's you guys making it more about the media.
"You lot keep bringing it up. We've had a few setbacks with injuries, not Tom doing too much media."
Waterfield admitted he had struggled at times today in his first meet following a two-month lay-off with a back and side injury.
It is also his first competition since last July's World Championships when he finished 11th in the platform.
"It was quite tough. It was a bit of a struggle, obviously my front didn't go really well again, which I've got to try and sort out," he said.
"But to get through was good."
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