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03rd Jan 2024

Luke Humphries opens up on mental health battle after winning World Darts title

Callum Boyle

What an incredible game.

Luke Humphries denied Luke Littler the chance to complete of the greatest sporting stories ever to be told after he beat the youngster to win the World Darts Championships for the first time in his career.

Aged just 16, Littler arrived into the competition practically unknown but delivered stellar performances to beat Christian Kist, Andrew Gilding, Matt Campbell, Raymond van Barneveld, Brendan Dolan and Rob Cross to reach the final at Alexandra Palace.

Humphries meanwhile beat Ricardo Pietreczko, Joe Cullen, Dave Chisnall and Scott Williams to get to the final two.

Met with his toughest test, facing the world number one who was also going in search of winning the Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time, Littler delivered when it mattered most to write his name into the history books.

It took time for Littler to settle in as ‘Cool Hand Luke’ showed why he is one of the world’s best players currently by taking the first set in comfortable fashion only for the 16-year-old to respond in emphatic style and level in the following set.

‘Cool Hand’ then came back out fighting again and like Littler, came from two legs down to win the third set and take a 2-1 lead however once again, Littler equalised.

Littler then took the lead for the first time in the fifth set and began to assert his dominance and extend his lead the following set.

He wasn’t having it all his own way however as Humphries showed his expertise and won the next two sets to make it 4-4, leaving the rest of the game evenly poised.

The following set then saw Cool Hand make hard work of it towards the end but in the end he won his third straight set of the game to go 5-4 up.

Despite his incredible run all the way, Littler was unfortunately able to create history as Humphries marched on and claimed a 7-4 victory to win the World Darts Championship for the first time in his career.

After the game, Humphries provided an emotional interview where he discussed his demons that almost caused him to leave the game he loved behind. He also paid a hearty tribute to his opponent Littler, and said that he expects him to win World titles in the future.

“There was a time in my life when I was really depressed,” Humphries. said after the game.

“It makes it more incredible for myself mentally. I couldn’t do it on the big stage. I went through a lot of problems. To go on now and be World Champion, it’s proved a lot to my mental toughness.”

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