‘I’m a World Darts Championship star with bad eyesight likened to Peep Show guy’

Michael Van Gerwen previews World Darts Championship

One of the emerging stars of professional darts is eager to see how deep he can go when the World Darts Championship gets underway at Alexander Palace today, making a mockery of his lifelong eyesight issue. Ryan Searle has enjoyed an impressive 2023, winning the Players Championship in February before progressing to the quarterfinals of the World Matchplay with victories over traditional heavyweights Raymond van Barneveld and Peter Wright.

The Somerset thrower wowed crowds with a nine-dart finish in November’s Grand Slam of Darts and is feeling confident about taking that good form into the World Championship this week.

Speaking to the PDC website, he said: “It’s been my best complete season as a professional so far. I was on a bit of a low at the end of last year, but I think I turned that around well by winning the first ProTour of the season, and I think overall 2023 has been pretty good.

“I have always improved averages-wise as the seasons have gone on, and I believe I’m heading in the right direction. I’m feeling good. I always really enjoy playing at Ally Pally, and when you’re on stage, you’ve sometimes got to pinch yourself, because the atmosphere is amazing.”

Currently ranked as world No. 19, Searle will receive a bye for the first round and join the competition at the Last 64 stage alongside world champion Michael Smith and last year’s runner-up and three-time champion Michael van Gerwen.

He will do so despite having a visual impairment from childhood that cannot be corrected but hasn’t stopped him from reaching the business end of the darts world. The 36-year-old has an astigmatism and often cannot see where his darts have landed.

“There’s nothing that can be done now I think. They said that I would probably have needed a patch over my left eye to strengthen the right but once you are so old there’s nothing they can really do. Laster surgery won’t make a difference.

“My prescription actually isn’t that bad but for whatever reason I just can’t see,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s like a mystery to the people in the opticians. I don’t do too bad without being able to see.”

Don’t miss…
Phil Taylor retires from darts as Brit calls it a day as sport’s GOAT[END OF AN ERA]
USA backed to be ‘future of Darts’ as Eddie Hearn hails game-changing moment[FUTURE OF DARTS]
World Darts pundit Mardle had to step down after losing voice in final[DISASTER]

  • Support fearless journalism
  • Read The Daily Express online, advert free
  • Get super-fast page loading

When asked what the board looks like to him, he added: “It looks normal to me. I don’t really know what it would look like if you could see properly. That’s how I’ve always lived so it doesn’t really make much difference to me.”

With his long brown hair, Searle’s appearance has been a subject point on social media with some observers comparing him to the side-part character ‘Gog’ from the classic first-person comedy series Peep Show.

The World Championship contender admits to being a “little bit weird” and non-fussed about being in the limelight, but should he manage to take some major scalps at the Ally Pally over the next couple of weeks he can expect to see his profile sky-rocket.

Source: Read Full Article