Tom Daley is my ‘secret weapon’ for Olympics, says synchro partner Noah Williams

Noah Williams believes he has an ace up his sleeve in Tom Daley at the Olympics this summer as he looks to draw a line under an “awful” first experience of the Games.

Williams was 27th out of 29 entrants in the men’s 10 metre platform at Tokyo 2020, where Daley bagged bronze and finally got his hands on a coveted Olympic gold in the synchronised event with Matty Lee.

A back injury has ruled Lee out of defending his title alongside Daley, who teamed up with Williams to win silver at the World Championships in February and secure their spots for the Paris Olympics.

Tom Daley, left, and Matty Lee won diving gold for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics (Adam Davy/PA)
Tom Daley, left, and Matty Lee won diving gold for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics (Adam Davy/PA)

They were officially unveiled as one of Team GB’s four synchronised diving pairs to compete in the French capital, marking a fifth successive Olympics for Daley, who made his debut in the Games aged 14.

Reflecting on his Olympics bow, Williams told the PA news agency: “I did awful, so bad, I’m hoping I’ve got not really a comeback story but that I can improve on what I did last time.

“I’ve got Tom for synchro so that’s always a plus, he is insane. That’s my secret weapon. I’m a bit more experienced and I know what to expect this time instead of going into my first Olympics.”

Williams accepted Daley being based in the United States now is far from an ideal situation, but he pointed out that has been the case throughout their partnership and they have had notable success.

Williams added: “(Tom) lives in America now so it’s pretty hard, but we’ve been doing a few competitions this year and they’ve all gone well.

“If that’s a sign of anything, I’m pretty happy with how stuff is coming together.

“We’ve got a whole month together where he is going to be back in London before the Olympics, in that month we will work together and get as good as we can get.”

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix is set to team up with Lois Toulson in the women’s synchronised 10m platform – the pair took bronze at the World Championships in Doha earlier this year.

Rio 2016 gold medallist Jack Laugher will compete alongside Olympics debutant Anthony Harding in the men’s synchronised 3m springboard, while Yasmin Harper and Scarlett Mew Jensen partner up for the women’s event.

Events in the pool are set to be closely monitored following the allegation in recent weeks that 23 Chinese swimmers were allowed to compete at the Tokyo Games, despite testing positive for a banned substance. Swimming and diving are both governed by World Aquatics.

Anthony Harding, left, will team up with Jack Laugher in Paris (John Walton/PA)
Anthony Harding, left, will team up with Jack Laugher in Paris (John Walton/PA)

The revelations have caused widespread criticism of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which accepted an explanation from Chinese authorities blaming accidental contamination but has since invited an independent prosecutor to carry out a “thorough review” of the organisation’s handling of the incident.

There is no indication that any of the country’s divers are implicated in the scandal, but the country is the dominant power in the sport, topping every medals’ table since the 1988 Games.

Laugher told PA: “It’s no different from normal, right? There’s always been potential scandals in different sports and this is just another one of those.

“It’s unfortunate it’s within aquatics, but to my understanding it’s been handled to the best of World Aquatics and WADA’s ability.

“We just have to trust that what we’re doing is what everyone is doing and what we’re doing is trying to be as faithful to sport as we can and that’s how we go about our lives and competition.”