There is not long to go until Aussie Justin Thompson heads over to the UK to take on the best in world at Lakeside playing in the 2022 World Championships, but the wily Aussie veteran can’t wait to get over there and give it a crack.
It will be the fourth time Thompson has competed at the event having made the last 32 at the World Championships in 2018, 2019, 2020 and is set for action when his opening round takes place on 2 April.
Thompson is bullish that he can go all the way at the tournament, and can’t wait to represent Australia with pride – as one of only a handful of Aussies to be in the competition.
“I think the goal is the same as every year – to go and win it,” he said.
“It’s not out of our reach, and I know that the English media have never give us a chance – they never gave us a chance when Tony David won it either or they never gave Australians a chance when Graham Hunt won the world Masters.
“So it’s quite possible for Australians to go over there and do well.”
Thompson said that he always feels like he is representing his country every time he gets up onto the oche – especially when he is away from home.
“We might be going over there as individuals, but every time we do we are representing our country,” he said.
“Regardless of whether we’re going over and playing for the Australia in World Cups or a similar event, each tournament you go in overseas, you’re playing as an Australian.”
Heading to a World Champs presents a very different environment for our players compared to what they are used to at home (when they can actually compete), and this is especially the case when it comes to the event atmosphere.
But Thompson isn’t fazed by the in-competition environment and believes that he has the experience in big-time comps to block out many of the external challenges he will be faced with at Lakeside.
“I’ve never ever had any issue with being able to re-focus on the oche, I’ve always been able to work out what I’ve done wrong for the next shot.
“I can normally do that after the first one and it doesn’t take me three darts to realise and I can regroup from it.
“As far as crowd goes, I’ve had a couple of incidents where I’ve had crowd issues, but I’ve sort of played it back on them – like pretending to throw.
“I’m lucky to be able to block that sort of stuff out and am pretty good at keeping my composure.”
Thompsons first opponent will be Brit Paul Hogan who will present tough competition first up given the fact he is playing at home and has been playing competitively for months.
“He is a very seasoned player and it’s always tough with us going over there because they haven’t stopped playing.
“When this virus first hit the world, I think they stopped for about six months and then they got back into playing and we were unable to play that sort of competition.
“My preparation has been pretty good – I’ve been throwing nearly every day an hour or so but you can’t buy match practice and it hasn’t helped that I haven’t been on the oche with anyone since Easter.
“I am just going to have to call on past experience… I know what it’s like when I’m up there. I know what to be expecting and that’s half the battle so I’m confident I can get a good result.”
Brought to you by the World Darts Federation, the WDF World Championships will take place from 2-10 April 2022. Darts Australia will keep you updated on the Aussies in action via our website and social media pages.