Derek Parr, FINA Media Committee member

Tom Daley claimed top honours in the opening skirmishes of the men’s 10m platform, outscoring China’s world champion Qiu Bo and Rio Olympic gold medallist Chen Aisen with an array of perfect 10s in the preliminary round at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on Friday. European champion Daley, Great Britain’s bronze medallist with Daniel Goodfellow in the synchronised 10m last week, set his sights on gold as he led the 18 qualifiers for Saturday’s semi-final with an aggregate 571.85 points from his six dives, more than it took for American David Boudia to win the Olympic title in London.

Qiu, silver medallist to Daley’s bronze in 2012, was second on 564.75, with Chen third on 545.35 and Boudia recovering from a botched forward 4-1/2 somersaults in the third round to stand fourth overall on 496.55. Benjamin Auffret of France finished fifth but was more than 100 points behind Daley. They start again at zero in Saturday’s semi-final but Daley and Qiu set powerful markers as they traded big scores, notably in the fourth round in which Daley drew 103.60 points and his first 10 for his forward 4-1/2 somersaults after Qiu had notched 102.60 for his back 3-1/2 somersaults, piked. Chen Aisen, one Rio gold medal to the good after winning the synchronised 10m event with Liu Yue, took the lead in the first round but lost ground in the fifth. Qiu, world champion three times in a row but still chasing Olympic gold, took over at the top in the second round after trailing ninth in the first but Daley edged in front in the third round and stayed there till the end.

Daley was awarded three 10s for his reverse 3-1/2 somersaults in the fifth round, though Qiu slightly outscored him with a higher-tariff dive in the same series. There was little to choose between the two, with Chen and Boudia – respectively gold and silver medallists in the Rio 10m synchro - also sure to have their say as the rest of the competition unfolds on Saturday.