04 January 2023

You have to keep going – Michael Smith hopes triumph teaches kids crucial lesson

04 January 2023

Michael Smith wants to use his World Championship triumph as a lesson to teach his children to never give up.

The 32-year-old became the world champion – and also world number one – for the first time after he beat Michael van Gerwen 7-4 in arguably the greatest final ever on Tuesday.

Smith fired a stunning nine-darter as he finally got his hands on the Sid Waddell Trophy at the third time of asking, having previously lost to Van Gerwen in 2019 and then Peter Wright 12 months ago.

That contributed to a run of eight successive major final defeats before he stopped the rot in November by winning the Grand Slam of Darts and following it up with the big one at Alexandra Palace.

Smith said: “For me it’s more about when I look at my kids and I say to them, ‘If you’re going to quit just don’t bother’.

“You have to keep going, you have to keep persisting with it, the amount of heartache you might get. I lost eight in a row and then I have won my ninth and 10th.

“That was what was most important to me, teaching them a lesson and now I get to be selfish now, that trophy is mine.”

While Van Gerwen breezed into the final, with an average of over 100 in every round, it was harder work for Smith, who had big battles against Martin Schindler and Steven Bunting, and that helped him regain the belief that had eroded 12 months earlier.

“When I lost to Peter last year I said I was never going to win it, it’s not meant to be and that’s why I broke down on stage,” he added.

“This one felt different because I wasn’t playing well but I was still winning and I was winning and winning and in the final I knew had one opportunity and I had to take it.

“That inner belief, you have seen it today; when it was my shot it was my shot.”

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