Dutch darts legend Raymond van Barneveld backtracks on retirement

Raymond van Barneveld earlier in the season. Photo VI via HH
Raymond van Barneveld earlier in the season. Photo VI via HH

Dutch darts legend Raymond van Barneveld will not retire immediately, despite his emotional decision to do so on Thursday evening after he lost dramatically in the Premier League.

In a statement on the PDC website on Friday, Van Barneveld said: ‘I want to end my career at Alexandra Palace during one final World Championship.’

The five-times world champion said he felt ashamed of losing in front of his family, friends and fans. I felt I let everyone down and that pain was very hard to deal with. In the heat of the moment I only wanted to never feel that again, but I realise that I should not speak out like that when I feel such raw emotion.’

Van Barneveld, 51, had been planning to retire at the end of the year but was beaten a convincing 7-1 by Michael van Gerwen in front of a home crowd in the Premier League on Thursday, after which he told reporters he would quit.

His manager said later on Thursday evening that Van Barneveld would take a couple of days to reach a proper decision.

Van Barneveld, a former postman, is considered the man who put Dutch darts on the map, winning five world titles between 1998 and 2007. He last took a major title in 2014 when he won the Premier League but has steadily slipped down the rankings since then.

Nevertheless, his career blazed a trail for a generation of Dutch darts players, including Roland Scholten, Vincent van der Voort and Michael van Gerwen, the current world number one.

Earlier this month it emerged that Van Barneveld and Sylvia, his wife of 25 years, are to divorce.

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