The Nine-Dart Guy's Back!
NINE-DART hero Paul Lim ends a decade away from the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship stage on Thursday evening - but still believes he can compete with the best in the game.
Lim, the DARTSLIVE World Soft-Tip Champion, is the most experienced of the international qualifiers, having played 19 times previously in both the Lakeside Championship and PDC World Championship.
Although the 58-year-old is most famous for hitting his historic nine-darter at the 1990 World Championship, he has spent recent years spreading the soft-tip game across Asia and north America.
He last competed in the Ladbrokes World Championship in 2002, but could announce his return to the big stage in style at Alexandra Palace, with the winner of his preliminary round clash with Malaysian Mohd Latif Sapup facing Michael van Gerwen.
"I can't believe I'm back," said Lim, affectionately nicknamed 'The Singapore Slinger'. "It's been a long time for me and the game has changed so much since I was last in the World Championship.
"It's a totally different ballgame now but I feel very at ease coming here.
"I've been on stage so many times that I'm comfortable up there and I've got nothing to lose. I've played for 38 years and done a lot so I'll go up there to enjoy myself, but I'm very excited."
Lim had begun his career by winning the Pacific Masters event whilst still working as a chef at a hotel in Papua New Guinea before moving to California to compete on the darts circuit.
"I was really succesful in Asia and after I won the Pacific Cup in Australia, the player I played in the final was American and he said to come to the USA and play on the circuit," he adds. "I took a chance and never went back to cooking.
"The circuit was a struggle then because the prize money wasn't like it is now. I did okay then but the game has become so big now - plauers have always wanted to be an NBA star or a soccer player and it's the same for darts now."
Lim admits that he will be remembered forever for his achievement in hitting the first World Championship nine-darter back in 1990 against Jack McKenna at Lakeside.
"I'll never forget and even after all these years people ask me about that moment," he smiles. "In the last few years when I've come to the UK and Europe, people recognised me as 'the nine-dart guy'.
"It changed my life in terms of recognition because although I was a good player, I was never like Taylor or Bristow."
He recalls: "At the moment it happened it's very strange, because you know you're going for the nine-darter. Everyone would be lying if they said that they don't think of it when they hit a maximum at the start of a leg.
"When you hit the next 180, you start to think about it more and then you get caught up in that moment when everything seems to rush but you're waiting and it happens and everything goes right for you.
"It's like hitting a hole-in-one in golf - the skill is to hit the green but you can't say you were going for the hole.
"Everything goes through in slow motion and the next thing it was over and I'd done it - I said 'wow' and put my hands in the air and I'll never forget that moment."
Lim now travels the world as a consultant and ambassador for DARTSLIVE, the soft-tip network who are a partner of the PDC, and he added: "It gives me more time to play darts now.
"When I had my own electronic darts company, it wasn't about playing - it was all about marketing, sales, organising and finding new territories.
"I've still been following the game and two years ago I was close to qualifying for the World Championship, and this time I'm lucky to be part of DARTSLIVE to have qualified."
The Ladbrokes World Championship is live on Sky Sports HD including the semi-finals and final in 3D.
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