Belfast Telegraph

Test me for drugs any time, any day: new world champ

By Mark Critchley

Michael van Gerwen, the newly-crowned world champion of darts, has called for stricter anti-doping procedures within the sport. The world number one saw off the challenge of Scotland's Gary Anderson to claim a 7-3 victory and his second PDC World Darts Championship title at Alexandra Palace on Monday night.

Van Gerwen, who won a remarkable 25 titles during 2016, urged authorities to take a more 'professional' stance on doping if they harbour any hopes of darts becoming an Olympic sport.

Players are currently tested for performance enhancing substances during tournaments but both Van Gerwen and Anderson would be open to being called in on at home.

"Any day of the week, I don't mind," Van Gerwen said. "I hope I get tested. I don't mind. I don't have anything to hide.

"I do this on ability and mental strength and some people don't believe me but just inform the anti-doping authorities and ask for my name.

"Testing at home is the next step," he added. "Everybody needs to give a little bit to make darts more professional."

Anderson echoed Van Gerwen's sentiments, insisting that "24/7 you should be getting a knock at the door to be tested."

The pair's comments came amid a debate on whether darts should be recognised as an Olympic sport.

A stricter anti-doping policy would only increase darts' chances of recognition alongside sports like shooting and archery.

"People say darts is a sport, people say darts isn't a sport," Anderson said. "Is snooker a sport? We are up there performing in front of these crowds, I think it is.

"If you play darts out there at the Ally Pally I don't think there is an Olympic Stadium that will come close to that.

"Show me a sport in the Olympics that gets half as loud in the crowd, I don't think you will find one."

Belfast Telegraph

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