By Mike Rowbottom

Daley_WaterfieldApril 14 - London 2012 medal prospects for 10 metre synchronised diving, pair Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield, are being undermined by financial pressures which are preventing the latter from training full-time.

Waterfield, who earned Britain's first Olympic diving medal in 44 years at the 2004 Athens Games when he took silver in the 10m synchro event with Leon Taylor, had his Lottery funding cut in 2010 after he had been unable to compete for a year due to a shoulder operation.

And the 30-year-old Londoner, who has a young family, suffered a further setback last month when he lost his job as a sports mentor at schools near his home in Southampton when the Youth Sport Trust suffered cutbacks on its central funding.

"My Lottery funding went down by about £800 ($1,307) per month when I dropped from the A to the B category after my operation," said Waterfield, who will compete with Daley at the FINA Diving World Series event in Sheffield on Friday and Saturday (April 15-16).

"I had to go out for a job at that point, and I was working as an athletes' mentor for a while until the Youth Sport Trust lost its Government funding.

"I have been struggling since then because I haven't got any other sponsors apart from Maximuscle.

"They have helped out, but it doesn't make up the money I have lost.

"Tom and I need to be training full-time in the run-up to the London Olympics - that's what all our main rivals will be doing, but I have to look after my family first."

Waterfield, who is married to the former national champion gymnast at acro sport, Tania Graves, has two young boys - Lewis, aged two, and Marshall, aged 10 - and the usual mix of domestic outgoings including a mortgage and insurance payments for two cars.

His wife now holds down two jobs to make ends meet - she works for the NHS in a cardiac ward, and also works as a carer in her local community.

"I would like to be able to say she could give up her caring job so she doesn't have to work until nine o'clock on some evenings, but the price of everything is going up and we would have to sit down and talk about our finances," Waterfield said.

"My wife is an inspiration to me to be honest, because she works some long hours and is fully supportive of me.

"As a former gymnast, she knows what is involved in terms of committment."

Waterfield will not have a chance to improve his funding status until the World Championships in Shanghai from July 16-31, where he would have to finish in the top three either in the individual 10m event or the synchro with Daley to move back up to the A grade.

He managed to secure B level funding through taking sixth place in the World Cup last year, his first big event since recovering from the shoulder injury which undermined his prospects of a medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Beijing was really frustrating because I qualified for the semi-finals in fourth place, but the next morning when I woke up I couldn't raise my arm above my head," Waterfield recalled.

"I didn't compete for the next year, during which time Tom came through at world level.

"A lot of people thought I wasn't coming back - or that I wasn't good enough to come back.

"That just made me more determined to prove to everyone and to myself that I wasn't done yet and that I have still got a few good years left in me.

"It made me realise I had to work even harder, partly because I was getting a bit older."

Waterfield took bronze in the 10m individual and bronze with Daley in the recent Beijing leg of the World Series.

But he maintained that it was still early days for his partnership with the young world champion.

"You should't be expecting medals from us straight away, as it will take the best part of a year for us to gel," he said.

"Some pairs just don't work together, but Tom and I work well.

"We had to wait until he developed more strength so that he was doing things like jumping higher in the routines. But we have a laugh together in our training and we are both determined to bring the best out of each other."

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