In the end, the 10 metre platform showdown between Matthew Mitcham and Tom Daley was all a bit of a no-contest. It was, as Mitcham had actually predicted himself: Daley was on form and looked a class above the rest of the field, while Mitcham performance was off and the challenge of the 2008 Olympic champion quickly faded as he finished almost 100 points behind the England superstar.
However, despite the disappointing result Mitcham, who had come into the Commonwealth Games believing he would most likely retire after the competition, has been encouraged enough by his overall performances, to continue his career to the 2016 Olympics, possibly specialising in synchronised events. Mitcham and Domonic Bedggood won the synchronised 10 metre platform gold medal on Friday night, while he won the silver with Grant Nel in the synchronised three metre springboard.
“I was pretty convinced that this was going to be the end of it for me but after how well Dom and I did in synchro, my coach Chava (Sobrino) was like ‘don’t be too hasty with this, maybe we can work something out with Diving Australia’.
“(There) may be the possibility of being a synchro specialist just to reduce my load because my body can’t take the load that I’ve been putting it through for the last 11 years or so and also I guess to give me more time to my career outside of sport.”
Daley, the London Olympic bronze medallist was superb on Saturday night accumulating 516 points, which included dives of 94.50, 93.50 and 102.60. He did have a shaky second dive where he scored 64.80, but even then Malaysia’s Ooi Tze Liang, the three metre springboard champion, was the nearest competitor with 433.70 points. Canada’s Vincent Riendeau (429.25) won the bronze. Mitcham was out of the contest after his first two dives when he was ranked ninth in the 11-diver field.
“He (Daley) was just diving out of his skin and that was the type of quality that I’m more used to seeing from him,” Mitcham said. “The fact that he’s still got that one weak dive but can still score over 500 points is a real testament to how well he’s diving and if he fixed up that one dive he’s got the potential to be the best in the world.”
Mitcham, who has struggled with a series of injuries since 2010, said while he performed below par, he could not be disappointed his overall results, having won a gold medal and two silvers.
“It was really just not a good competition for me … but if I don’t really feel like wallowing in my own pity for very long I just look into my training bag and go ‘look at all that hardware’,” Mitcham said.
“I’ve achieved everything that I really wanted to achieve from this Commonwealth Games and then some so I’m really, really happy.”
Mitcham, who will be performing a cabaret show at festivals in Darwin and Adelaide in coming months, said he was keen to concentrate on his post-diving career.
“I’ve got lots of stuff and I can’t keep putting my life on hold so Chava and I and Diving Australia are going to have a chat and see how we can make this work,” he said.
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, if it’s going to work but it really would be a shame to let such a great partnership go to waste only two years out from Rio.”
“I totally want a career in the entertainment industry, not just stage but television and radio, so if I can develop that career ideally I would love to develop it simultaneously while doing a bit more diving.
“But if I’ve got a wonderful job opportunity that’s going to take the priority.”
Sobrino, who is also an Australian team coach, said it was important to keep Mitcham in the sport because his partnership with Bedggood in the synchronised 10 metre platform would be a “really good chance for a medal in Rio”.
“With all his problems and all that he’s been a difficult one and then suddenly a few months ago things started getting a little bit better, he hasn’t reached his potential again but he’s started enjoying the sport,” Sobrino said.
“Looking at the prospects of Rio and looking at him and the way he’s progressed in the last month it would be a good idea just to hold it (retirement) back. I want him to have a long break and (let his elbow) get better and keep training hard in the gym away from the pool and think about it.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.