Darts: Raymond Van Barneveld reverses retirement decision

Five-time world champion Raymond Van Barneveld has reversed his decision to retire from darts - less than 24 hours after the announcement.

On Friday (NZ time), the Dutch legend said he was walking away from the sport with immediate effect, as he was struggling with the "pain" of losing through a challenging start to the 2019 season.

Van Barneveld finished dead last in the Premier League, ending the campaign with back-to-back 7-1 defeats in front of 11,000 fans at Rotterdam.

The poor form in front of his home crowd led to the decision to quit on the spot.

But after talks with his manager, the 51-year-old decided to carry on and will officially retire at the conclusion of the next world darts championship, which begins in December.

"For months, my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions," said the former world number one.

"In my private life, there have been so many troubles and as a darts player, you try not to, but you take all that with you on stage.

"I was humbled that I was given the chance to play in the Premier League this year and really wanted to show everybody the true 'Barney', but it was only glimpses that I could give."

Van Barenveld has also endured a turbulent time away from the dartboard, after the break-up of his marriage to wife Silvia, while he's been battling health issues with diabetes.  

"My personal problems got the better of me and I was always catching up to my opponents on stage. Yesterday, all those emotions came together and I couldn't handle that at that moment.

"I felt ashamed on stage in front of my family, my friends and the 'Barney Army'. 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.

"I want to end my career at Alexandra Palace during one final world championship.

"I hope people understand the difficult times my family and I have been going through, and I need to get my head together.

"I will take a couple of days off for this and then try to compete as well as I can in the floor tournaments out of the spotlight in the coming weeks."

If Van Barneveld had opted to stay retired, his career would have ended with a 7-1 defeat against current world number one and compatriot Michael van Gerwen.

Speaking to Sky Sports after his defeat by Van Gerwen, Van Barneveld said: "I've made a decision, I'm done now.

"I don't want the pain anymore. It's good to see that everyone loves you, but they don't have one single clue what I'm going through."


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