Primetime Tom Daley 'committed to elite diving'
TOM DALEY'S trainer has dismissed claims that the sports star's TV work is affecting his diving.
Coach Andy Banks says new show Splash! – in which Tom mentors celebrities in a diving competition – has an "absolutely minimal" effect on the Olympic medallist's training schedule.
"Splash! was tailor-made for Tom to fit around his training," said Mr Banks.
"He remains completely committed to diving and training at an elite level."
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Mr Banks' comments come after British Swimming chief executive David Sparkes said Tom should look at the example of skaters Torvill and Dean who put their competitive careers first.
"It's only going to get harder to achieve that Olympic gold," he said.
"You can rest assured the next Chinese diving superstar will not have such distractions from training," added Mr Sparkes who said he had put his concerns to Tom's agent.
Before last year's Olympics British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov clamped down on Tom's media work.
The diver won bronze in the men's 10m platform in London.
Mr Banks said: "I don't want to get into a slanging match.
"I don't understand why the finger keeps being pointed at Tom.
"Chinese stars come back home with medals and have cars, houses and millions of pounds thrown at them.
"Tom does not get any money at all from the Government. He supports himself through his celebrity work.
"We have a very strong relationship with his family and his agent and we work as a team. Splash! was tailor-made for Tom.
"The show is filmed in Plymouth during the week, but works around his training schedule.
"The live show on Saturday affects one training session but that is light-touch and has absolutely minimal effect. The hard training is done during the week."
Mr Banks said Tom took a "very mature attitude" to everything he did. "He knows exactly what it takes to compete at an elite level as a diver and is very much of the view that he wants to continue."
He added that any suggestion that Tom might quit the sport because of the row over his media work was "completely overblown".
"But what I don't want is for him not to enjoy diving.
"Our job is to make sure that he is happy, and he is. He is also a major celebrity, which is important, too – and he has achieved a medal having done that."
Mr Banks is a judge on the ITV1 show, which airs on Saturday evenings. The diving season resumes next month when Tom, 18, will compete at the British Gas Championships in Plymouth at the Life Centre from February 6-8.
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