‘Excited’ Tom Daley and Si Yajie aim to hit Olympics form at Dubai Diving World Series leg

'The event here in Dubai is always amazing', says Tom Daley ahead of the second leg of the 2016 Fina Diving World Series starting on Thursday.

Ahead of this summer’s Rio Olympics, Dubai is about to get an up-close-and-personal look at some of the world’s best divers.

The second stop in a truncated four-event 2016 Fina Diving World Series is slated to begin in Dubai on Thursday and run through Saturday at Hamdan Sports Complex. Several Olympic medal hopefuls began to arrive in the emirate on Monday, organisers said.

Among them were Great Britain’s Tom Daley, a bronze medallist on the 10m platform at London 2012, and China’s 17-year-old rising star Si Yajie, who won the 2013 world championship in the 10m platform age 14.

The pair are among the elite class of divers looking to hone their skills ahead of Rio 2016 this summer. At the opening 2016 Diving World Series event, completed over the weekend in Beijing, Daley finished fourth while Si claimed gold in their respective events. Daley did take a bronze with teammate Daniel Goodfellow in the synchronised 10m, while Si added to her gold medal count with Liu Huixia in the pairs event.

“It was a bit frustrating to be less than a point outside a medal individually,” Daley said of the Beijing leg in a press release ahead of the Dubai event. “But Dan and I managed to get a bronze medal in synchro – two medals in two international competitions.

“Pretty excited to come here to Dubai and replicate some of that. Every year the competition gets harder but with it being an Olympic year everyone is ready to go out and do the best they can.

“It’s exciting to be competing against the best divers in the world in so many different locations. The event here in Dubai is always amazing with the crowd support which gets the atmosphere going.”

Chinese divers, who took 50 of 60 golds in last year’s World Series and 74 of the 180 total medals available across six legs, continued their success in the Beijing 2016 World Series launch, taking gold in each of the 10 disciplines.

“I am looking forward to a steady performance in Dubai,” said Si, who finished second to compatriot Ren Qian at last month’s Fina Diving World Cup in Rio, a key warm-up event to the 2016 Olympics.

“Competition is definitely stronger than before with it being an Olympic year.”

The UAE Swimming Federation were anticipating a successful showcase.

“We encourage all diving fans and sport enthusiasts to come and watch some fantastic talent across the field. We are expecting tough competition this weekend which will make for thrilling action at the Hamdan Sports Complex,” Ahmed Al Falasi, president of the federation, said.

For more information, visit the Fina website.

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