SPORT
10/01/2013 08:02 GMT | Updated 12/03/2013 05:12 GMT

Tom Daley's Mother Defends Diver's Celebrity Status After Splash! Criticism

Tom Daley's mother has hit back at criticism of her son by British Swimming chief David Sparkes in a long letter published by the Daily Mail.

Sparkes this week questioned Daley's decision to front the television show Splash!, which aired for the first time last weekend, as an unnecessary distraction to his training.

Debbie Daley today responded angrily in a 1,600-word letter in which she claimed Sparkes - who has publicly criticised Daley before - could have lost his job had it not been for her 18-year-old son's bronze medal on the 10 metre platform at the London Olympics.

Britain failed to hit their medal targets in the Aquatics Centre, prompting a review into performances, with Daley winning their only diving medal.

Daley and his mother Debbie

Immediately after winning his first Olympic medal in London, Daley dedicated it to his late father, Robert, who died after a six-year battle with brain cancer aged 40 in May 2011.

Robert Daley had been a constant at poolside during his son's career and had pledged to live long enough to see Tom compete at the Olympics.

"My bond with my son has always been strong but Rob was Tom's rock, friend and role model," Mrs Daley added.

"He would be spitting mad if he had read your media attacks on him over the past 12 months and would have given you a franker view than mine."

British Swimming did not want to directly respond to Mrs Daley's comments but did say they would "continue to work with Daley's family, agent and coach in ensuring he achieves his goals and potential".