Raymond van Barneveld is embarking on a strict fitness regime in a bid to battle his diabetes and regain his best form in this year’s Premier League.
The five-time world champion suffered a surprise 10-4 defeat in the third-round of the UK Open against Mervyn King, where he appeared in discomfort throughout the match. Van Barneveld also struggled with his vision during the latter stages of the contest and revealed that these issues were triggered by his diabetes.
Van Barneveld was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes back in 2009 and on his new YouTube channel, the Den Haag ace released a statement earlier this week addressing the issue. He admitted: “Last Friday was a disaster against Mervyn King on stage in the UK Open.
“I saw the video back of myself on stage, it was really terrible due to my illness-diabetes- so from yesterday we were in the gym back in Holland. We keep on fighting and training and practicing until we make good results again. So for now it’s hard work at the gym every day.”
The legendary Dutchman enjoyed a strong start to 2018, reaching the final of the season-opening Unibet Masters- his first individual televised final for three years. He defeated Dave Chisnall, Peter Wright and Mensur Suljovic en route to the final, before narrowly succumbing 11-9 to Van Gerwen in a thriller.
Van Barneveld then pocketed three points from his opening two Premier League games against Daryl Gurney and Suljovic, before suffering back-to-back defeats against Simon Whitlock and Rob Cross. However, he returned to winning ways in Leeds on Thursday, reeling off four straight legs from 5-3 down to claim a precious win over Gerwyn Price.
Barney converted finishes of 121, 80, 101 and 89 in the final four legs to complete the comeback and register his second league win of the season- which moved him up to 5th in the table. Speaking in his post-match interview to Sky Sports’ Dave Clark, RvB admitted that his return to the gym had given him renewed belief.
“The last couple of weeks were not that great for me. I went on Monday back to the gym, worked hard on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and I feel a bit of confidence back, my stamina is coming back and it’s all about belief,” the Den Haag ace claimed.
He added: “It takes its toll. I’m here for eleven or twelve years now but for me, I’m 50. I’m not that young again. For me it’s important to get a win every single week. Next week Gary, then Peter Wright, then Michael van Gerwen, then Michael Smith. Tough schedule!
“I’m going to work even harder now. Go back to the gym every single day now when I can, and practice what I can do to be there, and maybe make the semi-finals of the Premier League, because I think my fans deserve that.”
Photo Credit: Chris Dean/PDC