Raymond Van Barneveld

Introduction

Raymond Van Barneveld is one of the Netherlands’ most famous darts players. Fondly referred to by fans as Barney or The Man, he is a five time world champion and currently holds numerous titles, having won, among other competitions, the UK Open and Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) Open. Today, Raymond Van Barneveld is known within the darts world for his sheer determination to win. Speaking to the Telegraph in 2006, he described his attitude to the sport: “There is the saying that ‘the taking part is more important than the winning’, but for me, winning is more important than the taking part. I’m just made that way.” Nowadays, Barney is happy to dabble in a bit of golf when not participating in darts championships.

Early Years

Born in 1967 in The Hague, Raymond Van Barneveld made his debut in international darts competitions in 1991. Despite having concentrated on football and taekwando during his school days, Barneveld rapidly realized that his future lay in the game of darts. His international debut came just seven years after he had taken up the sport.

Achievements

Raymond Van Barneveld has clocked up numerous wins during his darts career. Here’s the lowdown on some of his most famous achievements.

  • Barneveld began his international darts career on the British Darts Organisation Circuit (BDO). He reached his first darts championship final in 1994 at the Finnish Open.
  • He won his first World Final in 1998, beating the Welshman, Ritchie Burnett. He defended his title in the following year, beating England’s Ronnie Baxter.
  • He is a five-time World Champion (BDO x4 & PDC x1)
  • Raymond Van Barneveld is a two-time winner of the Winmau World Masters, one of darts’ most prestigious championships.
  • Barneveld ended his fifteen year association with the BDO in 2006, choosing instead to compete in PDC tournaments. He rapidly rose through the ranks of PDC players. He currently holds the world number 2 spot.
  • Barneveld frequently takes risks with his game. However, in the main, these appear to have paid off. Unlike many sports personalities who choose to invest great sums of money in their equipment, Barneveld recently took the decision to undertake even the most gruelling of competitions employing darts purchased in a small store in his native Holland. They cost the equivalent of £1 apiece!

Challenges

Raymond Van Barneveld has not shied away from discussing the many challenges he has encountered during his sporting career. He has described losing as one of the worst experiences a sportsman may face. He also has an important message for those individuals looking to gain entry into a competitive sport such as darts. Given the limited infrastructure for the sport in many countries, he emphasizes the dedication that one must have towards the game in order to succeed. Commenting explicitly on the issue during a 2006 interview to The Telegraph, he notes: “Earlier in my career, it was tough getting to the level I wanted to be at. I worked as a postman, did my deliveries from 6am, finished work…then practised through the afternoons and evenings, dedicating myself to darts.”

This determination to succeed has been the driving force behind many of Barneveld’s achievements. In particular, it influenced his move from the BDO to the PDC. Barneveld believed it was essential for him to face the likes of the legendary Phil Taylor in order for him to be able to reach his true potential. He has quite obviously succeeded in achieving this goal. He joined the PDC ranked 140, but has now risen through its ranks to become one the game’s most successful players.

That World Championship Final

Barney switched over to the PDC primarily for the challenge of facing the very best. He nearly saw an early exit against the #1 seed Colin Lloyd but fought back from a 3-0 scoreline to triumph 4-3 in a sudden death leg in the seventh set. Barneveld would then not drop a set, marching towards the final that everyone wanted to see against Phil ‘the power’ Taylor.

Taylor would rush out to a 3-0 lead in the race to seven and Barney looked overwhelmed. However the four-time World Champion would find hit feet and nail a 170 finish to take his first set. The Dutchman was now playing sublime darts and would fight back to level it at 5-5 and would lead 6-5. Taylor would win the 12th set setting up a deciding 13th set. Barney had darts to win the match – but couldn’t hit the doubles.

A sudden death leg would ensue and Tsylor lost the bull-off – hitting the 25 whilst Barney would nail the Bullseye. Barney started nicely but Taylor would throw a terrific 180 to put himself firmly in charge. The cool Dutchman would then stride up to the oche and throw a 180 of his own. After missing double top once for the match, Barney stepped up again and hit the target to become a five-time World Champion in what is widely regarded as the ‘Greatest Darts Final of All-Time’.

Barneveld on Darting Controversies

Barneveld, unlike many of his fellow players, has not been the subject of a great deal of controversy. This, however, does not mean that he does not have a clear view on the current issues facing the sport. In particular, he has identified the need for the sporting fraternity to accept darts as a serious sport, rather than a game reserved for pubs and taverns. However, crucially, Barneveld suggests that the greatest threat to the improvement of the game lies in the fact that it is currently run by two separate organizations, the PDC and the BDO.

Future Career

With few current injury worries, it is likely that Barneveld will enjoy a successful career for many years to come. He is expected to make appearances in future PDC championships and is certainly a name to watch out for.