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Singapore Darts veteran Paul Lim back to winning ways

He beats Belgium’s Emonts to clinch Stage 2 of Soft Darts World Championship in France

SINGAPORE — Darts duo Paul Lim and Harith Lim made the headlines three weeks ago when the Singaporeans knocked out top seeds Scotland at the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Cup of Darts, and subsequently reached the quarter-finals for the first time.

This week, veteran player Paul added yet another achievement to his long and illustrious professional career when he won Stage 2 of the Soft Darts World Championship — The World in La Rochelle, France.

The 63-year-old emerged champion from a field of 157 competitors when he defeated Belgium’s Francis Emonts to net US$15,000 (S$20,864) in prize money.

Emonts had earlier beaten Harith in the quarter-finals.

The Lims — who are not related — had combined for a giant-killing performance in Frankfurt earlier this month at the World Cup, shocking Scotland’s world No 2 and 3 Gary Anderson and Peter Wright before beating Spain en route to a historic last-eight finish.

Paul’s latest triumph means that he has risen to the top of The World rankings, overtaking Stage 1 winner Alex Reyes of the United States, with four more stages left to go.

Started in 2011, The World is an annual tournament that comprises various stages played in different countries over the course of the year.

Players compete to be crowned individual stage champions and are also awarded ranking points based on their final positions. The player who accumulates the most points at the end of the season is crowned overall champion.

Paul was particularly pleased with his win in France because of the high level of competition. Stage 1 was played in the US, while the remaining stages will be in Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong. “It was tougher in France because a lot of European players who play The World stages don’t travel to Asia as it costs too much,” he told TODAY in a phone interview.

“Many of the good players don’t have the sponsorship to go to Asia comfortably. Travelling to Asia would cost them a couple of thousand euros even before the tournament.

“So in France, we had players from England, Germany, Spain, Holland, all those based in Europe. They all came out because it’s closer for them.”

The overall champion in 2013 and last year, Paul is gunning for a hat-trick this year. A top-four overall finish also comes with a guaranteed berth in the Super Darts 2018 tournament, which gathers champions and top-ranked soft-tip darts players from around the world. It will be held in Japan and will feature 16 players.

“Super Darts is one of the biggest tournaments in the world,” said Paul, who was the 2015 champion. “This has definitely put me on course to do well in the annual rankings (to qualify).”

Soft-tip darts, with tips made from plastic, use electronic dartboards, which calculate the score automatically as opposed to traditional steel-tip darts. The PDC World Cup is a steel-tip tournament and Paul plays in both, although he is regarded as one of the best soft-tip players in the world.

Based in Hong Kong as a consultant with community entertainment company Dartslive Asia, Paul’s next tournament is the PDC Shanghai Masters on July 7 and 8, where he is one of eight invited Asian players. He will then travel to Taiwan for The World Stage 3 on July 30, where he hopes to continue his winning momentum.