July 8 - Britain's teenage diving star Tom Daley has received a boost as he looks to defend his title in the 10 metre individual platform event at this month's FINA World Championships in Shanghai later this month after Australian rival and Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham (pictured) pulled out of the event with an abdominal injury.
Mitcham, who is likely to be Daley's biggest rival for the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games next year, has had a number of titanic tussles with the 17-year-old from Plymouth in the past including an epic duel at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games last year, which saw Daley claim victory in the 10m individual competition over Mitcham with the last dive of the event.
However, there will be no repeat of the contest between the two in China after the Australian tore abdominal muscles competing in a Grand Prix meet in Montreal earlier this year that will take him longer to recover from than anticipated.
"I have told myself that withdrawing from Shanghai is all for the greater good with the London Olympics being the important one," said Mitcham, who recently turned 23.
"Not competing with an injury is the best thing for my Olympic preparation.
"This is a small sacrifice to make for the bigger picture, which is London next year."
The Sydney native said he tried to hurry through rehabilitation in order to be fit for Shanghai but his doctor advised him against diving in China.
"We were trying to cut corners and rush through the rehab up until last week when it started getting sore again," said Mitcham (pictured above with Daley).
"The risk is just not worth it.
"The doctor said I am five to seven times more likely to re-tear it.
"If I do I would be out for three months.
"I just can't afford that unfortunately.
"That initial disappointment lasted three days but I realise now it is a good thing because I would have re-torn it and made it so much worse."
Mitcham added that there is a silver-lining to his injury as he feels he will head into the London 2012 Olympics with more of an aura than if he had been beaten at the World Championships.
"All of these other divers would have gone into London 2012 thinking, 'Yes, I have beaten the Olympic champion'," he said.
"They would have this new confidence but now they can't say that.
"There have been these realisations that have stopped me from being so disappointed about the whole situation."
Daley and Chinese divers Qiu Bo and Huo Liang will now be the main stars on show at the event as Daley looks to get back to his best form after he spent a short time away from the sport earlier this year when his father Rob died of a brain tumour in May.
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