sport

Waterfield angry at funding cut

Tom Daley could be forced to find a new platform synchro partner after his London Olympics team-mate Peter Waterfield had his funding cut.

Waterfield, a father of two, is set to walk away from a two-decade long career after learning British Swimming would no longer financially support him from April.

The 31-year-old said he had been given assurances he would continue to partner Daley until at least next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but can now not afford to remain in the sport.

That would leave Daley without a platform partner just five months out from this summer's World Championships in Barcelona.

"It's pointless (to continue). I have to pay a mortgage, I have two kids to feed as well as a car to run. I struggle anyway," Waterfield told Sky Sports News.

"Without the funding I can't do any of that.

"The only way I can carry on diving is if I find funding from another source, maybe sponsorship or something like that. I've been diving for 20 years and I've never had a financial sponsor.

"If I don't find another source of funding, not only will it be my career that's lost but my house and me and my wife and kids would be homeless."

British Swimming saw their funding cut last month after failing to hit their Olympic targets, although diving was handed a 1million boost.

Despite that Waterfield, who apologised to Daley after his mistake at the Olympics cost the duo a medal, has been left out in the cold.

He initially announced the decision on his Twitter page, saying: "Well just found out my funding will be cut in April so I won't be able to compete in commonwealths or Rio even if I wanted to."

An emotional Waterfield also revealed it was his coach, rather than British Swimming, who informed him of the decision.

"I spoke to my coach and she said that she had found out from my performance director yesterday that my funding would be completely cut in April," he said.

"My performance director, Alexei Evangulov, has known this since December and has not bothered to talk to me and tell me about it.

"I think there is too many people (at British Swimming) earning too much money who can't do their jobs properly. That's how I see it."

Last week British Swimming boss David Sparkes was publicly criticised by Daley's mother, Debbie, in an open letter.

Debbie Daley claimed her son had become demotivated under Sparkes, after he questioned the teenager's commitment to the sport following his role in the diving-based TV show Splash!

Waterfield has yet to speak to Daley whose chances of a medal, at the World Championships at least, appear to have now been halved with no obvious replacement in the British team.

"I haven't spoken to Tom yet. I'm not sure about his reaction yet," he said.

"I wouldn't mind knowing what his reaction will be. I'm sure he'll be just as disappointed as me.

"Tom and I only dived together for two years up to London 2012 and we were just starting to pick up medals in major competitions. We missed out in London but I thought by Rio we'd have the experience behind us to go and pick up that medal."

British Diving released a statement on Friday afternoon which claimed Waterfield's coach had been informed last December that the veteran - who will be 35 at the next Olympics in Rio - could lose his funding.

"British Diving has been working closely with UK Sport, divers and coaches regarding funding and after planning meetings with UK Sport some athletes were identified that could lose their funding in the new funding cycle," the statement read.

"Peter Waterfield was identified as one of these athletes based on potential for success at the Rio Olympics."

Evangulov admitted the decision was a difficult to make, but reiterated the guidelines of the UK Sport funding meant money had to be focused on athletes most likely to appear in Rio.

Waterfield, who is set to appear on Britain's Got Talent as part of a high-diving team who set themselves on fire, had endured an injury-plagued lead-up to the Olympics and concerns remained over his long-term fitness.

"Delivering bad news is never easy from any point of view. We tend to work closely through the home coaches as in this instance to ensure we can put appropriate support mechanisms in place going forward," Evangulov said.

"The home coaches were informed about athletes that could potentially lose funding as identified by British Diving and UK Sport at our assessment camp in December and I contacted Peter's home coach to let her know that he was one of these athletes.

"We will do everything we can to support Peter who is a fantastic ambassador for the sport. But we have to keep our focus on Rio as instructed by UK Sport."