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A cuddle from dad ruffles Daley
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Forget becoming Britain's first individual world diving champion, Tom Daley's toughest task on Tuesday was keeping his dad's ecstatic emotions in check.

The 15-year-old produced two stunning final three-and-a-half somersault dives to steal the gold off Chinese favorite Qiu Bo.

While Daley was calm and collected in the news conference afterwards, his father was so excited he posed as a member of the press and asked his son the all important question: "Tom, can I give you a cuddle?"

Daley reluctantly left his seat in front of the cameras and went to hug his father at the back of the room, before returning to the microphones and muttering: "How embarrassing!"

Seventh at last year's Beijing Games, Daley said he never expected to take the gold on a sweltering day at Rome's Foro Italico.

"Today was never the day I thought I would be world champion, to come away with the gold medal was just unthinkable this morning," he said.

"The next thing is hopefully to do the same thing at the London 2012 Olympics."

Officials said it was uncertain whether Daley was the youngest ever male diving champion. However, his age is considered too young for a male diver to reach the top level of the sport.

"I hadn't realized I was the youngest person to win gold, it hasn't sunk in yet," added Daley.

Embattled British Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid a handsome tribute to the youngster.

"I am delighted at Tom's success," said Brown, who would dearly wish some of Daley's success rubbed off on him after several nightmare weeks.

"His gold medal at the World Championships shows what is possible with talent, commitment and determination.

"He is an inspiration to all those involved in British sport and to young people right across the country. My congratulations go to him, his family and his team."

Daley competes again in Friday's synchronized 10m heats.

(Agencies via China Daily July 23, 2009)

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