Tag Archives: adrian

FA Cup mascot to run London Marathon

Farah takes on the FA Cup! Trophy mascot joins Mo on London Marathon start line

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Double delight: Farah won 10,000m and 5,000m gold at the London 2012 Olympics

Farah said: 'The whole point is to try and learn from it and my aim is to come out here, learn about the race and get used to the course so next year I'm ready to go. It's a no-brainer really. If someone's giving you a practice run, why would you turn that down There's a lot of criticism, but that's part of life. You can't keep everyone happy.'

And there is, he stressed, no chance of him going all the way to the finish line.

'I'm 25-1 to finish the race,' he added. 'That ain't going to happen. If anyone's got money lying around they can give it to the Mo Farah Foundation because I'm definitely not going to finish it.'

Teenage Cancer Trust will be joining in The FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations throughout the year, working together to raise the profile of the charity which plays an important role in transforming the lives of young people with cancer in communities across the country.

To find out more or to support Teenage Cancer Trust visit Adrian’s Just Giving page http://www.justgiving.com/adrian-wells.

Michael van Gerwen draws with Phil Taylor

Van Gerwen unable to hold out for win over The Power on thrilling opening night

runner-up Simon Whitlock was also a winner at the Odyssey Arena as he crushed a poor Adrian Lewis 7-3.

There was nothing to separate the players early on as the first five legs went with throw. But the Aussie struck a 121 finish to break and go 4-2 up before Lewis hit back immediately to reduce his arrears to 4-3.

Whitlock broke again, though, to lead 5-3 before hitting double top in the next leg to guarantee at least a draw. ‘The Wizard’ didn’t have to wait long to complete his win as the 10th leg summed up Lewis’s evening.

Eagle eyed: Simon Whitlock in action

Eagle eyed: Simon Whitlock in action

The two-time world champion missed six darts at a double and Whitlock stepped in to hit double eight and wrap up a comfortable win in Northern Ireland.

In the first match of the evening, Robert Thornton secured a 7-5 win over Andy Hamilton on his Premier League debut.

The UK Open champion raced into a 5-1 lead and appeared to be cruising towards victory before Hamilton fought back to level at 5-5.

But Thornton checked out a 120 finish against the throw in leg 11 before sealing a 7-5 victory in the deciding leg.

In week one’s other match, perennial Premier League slow starter James Wade earned his first opening-week win since 2008 as he cruised past debutant Wes Newton 7-4.

Phil Taylor versus Michael van Gerwen is a fitting end to a thrilling World Championship

Drama, excitement, bust ups, close matches, great performances and two nine-dart finishes: Taylor versus Van Gerwen is a fitting end to a thrilling World Championship

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UPDATED:

17:08 GMT, 31 December 2012

Is there any better way to end a World Championship that has had everything

The 15-time world champion and King of the oche Phil Taylor takes on the red hot Dutch star Michael van Gerwen in one of the most eagerly awaited contests in the tournament’s 20-year history.

‘Mighty Mike’ has lit up Alexandra Palace over the festive period and he has all the attributes needed to topple ‘The Power’ and win his maiden world title.

Van Gerwen produced a champion’s performance to beat two-time winner Adrian Lewis 5-4 in a stunning quarter-final and then, almost unthinkably, played even better against James Wade in the semis. Had MVG pulled off two nine-dart finishes in a row, it surely would have ranked as the greatest moment in darts history.

Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen has produced outstanding form this year at Ally Pally

Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen has produced outstanding form this year at Ally Pally

It has been a year to remember for the Dutchman, after his win at the World Grand Prix and final at the Grand Slam, and a win over Taylor on Tuesday night could almost be a changing of the guard for the sport.

If he plays like he did against Lewis, Van Gerwen will almost certainly be the new world champion.

Taylor said: ‘Michael’s talent is the best I’ve ever seen, even better than me at my peak. I’ve been studying Michael’s game and he doesn’t even seem to look at his target. I’m going to do everything on the dart board I can to beat him.’

But the pressure of a World Championship final could get to the young pretender and, if it does, the last man you would want to face is Taylor.

The Power: Taylor is going for his 16th world title

The Power: Taylor is going for his 16th world title

‘The Power’ hasn’t been at his best at Ally Pally this year but still finds himself in the final. He has negotiated a tricky draw with relative ease, beating Robert Thornton, Andy Hamilton and Raymond van Barneveld.

The bookmakers were right in ranking these two as the favourites but Taylor knows he needs to up his game to stop ‘Mighty Mike’ winning his first world title.

An interesting sub-plot will be the reaction Phil Taylor gets from the crowd after his spat with Barney after the semis.

The 2013 World Championship has had drama, excitement, close matches, sizzling performances and two-nine dart finishes. Let’s hope the final will be the conclusion a brilliant tournament deserves.

Five memorable moments from Ally Pally this year

5. John Part angry that his picture isn't on the wall at Alexandra Palace

4. Van Gerwen knocks out reigning champion Adrian Lewis in a quarter-final classic

3. Dean Winstanley's nine-dart finish against Vincent van der Voort

2. Taylor clashes with Van Barneveld after semi-final

1. Van Gerwen's incredible 17 perfect darts in a row

Theo Walcott is proving he is a centre forward

He's been saying it for years and now Walcott's proving that he really is a middle man

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 30 December 2012

If Theo Walcott needs reminding of what being Arsenal's No 1 centre forward entails, he will get it at training this morning.

Thierry Henry will be there. The way Walcott opened his body up before sliding the ball past Tim Krul for the first of his three goals in Saturday's 7-3 demolition of Newcastle had Henry's influence written all over it.

However, it also displayed the hallmarks of a clinical Premier League striker, something Walcott wants to become so desperately.

Expertly done: Theo Walcott showed his ability to play in the middle for Arsenal

Expertly done: Theo Walcott showed his ability to play in the middle for Arsenal

Sign him up: Arsene Wenger is hoping Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal

Sign him up: Arsene Wenger is hoping Walcott will commit his future to Arsenal

Having the luxury of working with
Henry each day will only enhance the 23-year-old's efforts to complete
the transition from pacy winger to world-class centre forward.

Who better to learn from than
arguably the best goalscorer the club have ever had Saturday's
brilliant display against Newcastle will help convince his doubters that
he can develop into an out-and-out centre forward.

But, truth be told, the man he
really needs to convince still needs persuading. Wenger has put a centre
forward at the top of his shopping list.

David Villa, Adrian Lopez and Edin
Dzeko are targets. Should any of that trio arrive at the Emirates next
month, then Walcott could be shifted back out wide.

'I've always said I'm a striker and the manager is giving me the opportunity to play up front,' said Walcott.

'I'm not saying I'll play up front all the time, but it's just nice to have a different option.

'Olivier (Giroud) came off the bench
and showed great qualities. I switched to the right so it can work. We
are scoring goals from every position. I believe I am a striker.'

Walcott is finally adding substance to those claims, a fact underlined by Saturday's breathtaking performance.

His first against Alan Pardew's side
displayed all the precision of a top-class goalscorer as he expertly
side-footed his effort past Krul.

The England man's second demonstrated
all the instinctiveness of a quality finisher, ramming home from 12
yards under pressure from Gael Bigirimana.

Main man: Walcott was in exceptional form against Newcastle

Main man: Walcott was in exceptional form against Newcastle

It must be love: The Arsenal manager was impressed with Walcott's performance against Newcastle

It must be love: The Arsenal manager was impressed with Walcott's performance against Newcastle

10 GAMES, 10 GOALS

Theo Walcott's recent form means Arsene Wenger must be seriously considering handing him the main striker's role on a permanent basis.

In his last 10 matches, Walcott has scored hat-tricks against Reading and Newcastle and goals against Schalke, Tottenham, Everton and Reading.

When Walcott has scored this season, Arsenal have not lost.

And his third showed the
single-mindedness of a seasoned centre forward, picking himself up off
the floor to curl a shot past Krul to complete his hat-trick.

Walcott is silencing his doubters;
those who have questioned his credentials as a central striker are being
forced into a rethink.

Yes, he has to do it on a regular
basis, but 14 goals from 11 starts this season provides a clear
indication that his long-term future can be as a bona fide middle man.

Whether that is at Arsenal remains to
be seen, but it is to Walcott's credit he has managed that exceptional
goal ratio with uncertainty looming large.

'Even with the speculation going on,
he's stuck to his task. He's been a great professional ,' said
team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

'He's a good lad in the dressing room
and we need him to keep doing that for the rest of the season. We've
all been giving him a bit of banter (about his future) but that's for
Theo's people to sort out.'

Saturday's hammering of Newcastle was
Walcott's third successive outing in his preferred position, a period
in which he has scored four times.

Duel: Walcott got the better of Tim Krul on a number of occasions

Duel: Walcott got the better of Tim Krul on a number of occasions

Options: Wenger also likes to pick Olivier Giroud (right) through the middle

Options: Wenger also likes to pick Olivier Giroud (right) through the middle

However, his contribution has not
stopped at goals. Walcott set up both of Giroud's strikes against
Newcastle and won the decisive penalty in the 1-0 victory over Wigan
last week. Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie at Swansea is likely to see
Walcott given another chance to nail down the role.

'He bangs them in for fun in
training,' added Oxlade-Chamberlain. 'Someone with pace is a nightmare
to defend against. When he gets the service, he can punish teams. In
training, he's no different.

'When Theo first came, he was
training with players like Thierry, (Dennis) Bergkamp and (Robert)
Pires. He's learned from the best, he's getting better and better, and
there's no one better to learn from.

'From the player that I first
started watching to the man he is now, he is only getting better and
better and he's still only 23.

'He's got such a mature head on his
shoulders. He's great on and off the pitch so he's so important for us.
He was great for me when I first arrived. He took me under his wing,
helped me. 'When he came along, it must have been even more daunting
because I think Ashley Cole was the only English player around at the
time.

'They had experienced players like
Henry and Bergkamp. It must have been daunting so he realised it must
have been hard for me coming in. So he helped me through that.

'He was the first person to really
help me. 'I sit next to him in the dressing room and he's been really
good for me.' Walcott is really good for Arsenal at the moment, too.

How Theo got his third

Michael van Gerwen beats Adrian Lewis in World Darts Championship quarter-final

Lewis OUT! Mighty Mike hits Jackpot as he sends the reigning champion packing after a classic at Ally Pally

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UPDATED:

23:28 GMT, 29 December 2012

Adrian Lewis’s quest for a third straight world title came to a shuddering halt on Saturday night as he lost 5-4 to an inspired Michael van Gerwen.

The Dutchman showed why he was the pre-tournament second favourite as he overcame some early double problems and withstood everything ‘Jackpot’ threw at him in an astonishing tussle at Ally Pally.

Van Gerwan will play James Wade in the semis after ‘The Machine’ edged past West Newton 5-4 in a classic first match of the evening.

Thriller: Van Gerwen won a classic contest to move into the semi-finals

Thriller: Van Gerwen won a classic contest to move into the semi-finals

‘Mighty Mike’ wasted no time in taking
the opening set as he pounced on Lewis’s double trouble to win it 3-0.
The Dutchman broke throw in the second leg after the reigning champion
missed six darts at a double.

But ‘MVG’ had problems on doubles himself and Lewis took advantage to win the second set 3-1.

Van Gerwen’s troubles continued in the
third set as he almost threw away a 2-0 lead with a hatful of missed
doubles. The Dutchman had chances in legs three and four to take the set
but eventually hit double 10 in the deciding leg to move 2-1 ahead.

‘Jackpot’ quickly levelled, though, as
he won the fourth set 3-0 thanks to a 136 checkout on Van Gerwen’s
throw in the second leg.

But Van Gerwen responded with a 3-0
set of his own as he upped his game in the fifth set. The Dutchman came
close to a nine-dart finish but settled for an 11-dart leg to break
Lewis’s throw and move back ahead.

Lewis didn’t back down, though, and he
took the sixth set 3-1 as Van Gerwen’s double trouble returned. But
just when the reigning champion seemed to be taking control of the
match, the Dutchman came roaring back.

Gallant: Lewis played his best match of the tournament but it wasn't enough against the impressive Dutchman

Gallant: Lewis played his best match of the tournament but it wasn't enough against the impressive Dutchman

The two-time winner broke throw to
lead 2-1 in the seventh set with a chance to move 4-3 ahead and just one
set away from the semis. But Van Gerwan checked out 120 to break
straight back before hitting double top in the deciding leg to take the
set.

Then, as expected, it was Lewis’s turn
to strike back as he hit an 11-dart leg to break Van Gerwen’s throw to
take the set 3-1 and force a decider.

The gripping contest continued to
excite in the final set and it was Lewis who struck first. ‘Jackpot’
broke Van Gerwen’s throw to lead 2-1 but, typical of the contest, Van
Gerwen pulled off an incredible 83 checkout to level at 2-2 as Lewis
missed two darts at tops.

The Dutchman then checked out 108 to hold and move 3-2 ahead before breaking throw in the next leg to seal a brilliant win.

Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen came out on top in a final-set thriller

Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen came out on top in a final-set thriller

Van Gerwen told Sky Sports: ‘We played
a very good game. I was struggling on my doubles but he played so well.
This is my biggest year ever and I’m playing so well at the moment.’

A despondent Lewis said: ‘That is
probably the best game we’ve seen on TV. It was better than Barney and
Taylor’s match (in 2007).’

‘Mighty Mike’ will look to avenge his
World Matchplay defeat to Wade, who was cruising towards victory at 4-2
before a determined fight-back from Newton.

Newton raced into a 2-0 lead before Wade broke in the first leg of the third set before reducing his deficit to 2-1.

Machine: Wade prevailed in a final-set thriller

Machine: Wade prevailed in a final-set thriller

The fourth set proved to be pivotal as Newton missed three darts at tops which would have taken him 3-1 ahead. Wade pounced to force a deciding leg in the set before hitting double 10, albeit at the fourth time of asking, to level at 2-2.

‘The Machine’ then won five out of the next six legs to go 4-2 up as he looked set for an easy ride into the semis.

But Newton wasn’t finished yet and he won the seventh set 3-0 before levelling at 4-4 to force a decider.

But it was Wade who prevailed as he broke Newton’s throw before sealing the set 3-1 and the match 5-4.

The semi-final clash will take place on Sunday night along with the mouth-watering showdown between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld.

Determined: Newton pushed Wade all the way with a spirited effort

Determined: Newton pushed Wade all the way with a spirited effort

Roberto Martinez confirms signing of Roger Espinoza

Two out, one in! Martinez loses Lopez and McCarthy through injury but confirms Espinoza

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UPDATED:

20:19 GMT, 19 December 2012

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has revealed defender Adrian Lopez could be sidelined for 10 weeks with the hamstring tear he suffered in Saturday's defeat at Norwich.

James McCarthy's ankle problem, sustained in the same game, appears to have been only a short-term setback, but for Lopez the verdict was far from encouraging.

Martinez told the Wigan Evening Post: 'We are waiting on the results of another scan, but Adrian has a tear to his hamstring and it will probably be between six and 10 weeks.

'It's a shame': Wigan defender Adrian Lopez (left) could be out for up to 10 weeks after injuring his hamstring in the defeat against Norwich

'It's a shame': Wigan defender Adrian Lopez (left) could be out for up to 10 weeks after injuring his hamstring in the defeat against Norwich

'It's a shame because Adrian has never had a soft-tissue injury before.

'He is a sprinter and he has a real sprinter's muscles – you don't usually see people like him picking up this kind of injury.'

Wigan's Adrian Lopez

Blow: Lopez had played Wigan's last five games, coming into the side as defenders Ivan Ramis, Antolin Alcaraz and Gary Caldwell have all suffered injuries

Midfielder McCarthy had to be substituted at half-time at Carrow Road after being left with a hurt ankle following what Latics manager Martinez branded a 'nasty challenge'.

Martinez has since received an update on McCarthy's situation, and said: 'We've had the scan and he has a sprain in his ankle, and we need to see how that develops.

'Any sort of injury is disappointing, although we are relieved that it is not a really bad tear to his ligament.

James McCarthy

Too early: Midfielder James McCarthy has been working hard to play against Arsenal Saturday, but according to Roberto Martinez, it's 'too early to tell'

'He's been working really hard this past two days, accelerating the recovery process, but it's too early to tell if he'll be okay for the weekend.'

Wigan, who have dropped into the relegation zone, play Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

Defenders Gary Caldwell, Ivan Ramis (both hamstring) and Antolin Alcaraz (groin) could return, while midfielder Ben Watson, who fractured his shin in November, is to have his cast removed tomorrow.

Wigan defender Gary Caldwell

Wigan defender Ivan Ramis

Injuries: Wigan have also been without defenders Gary Caldwell (left), Ivan Ramis (right) and Antolin Alcaraz (not pictured) at various stages this season

Martinez was delighted to have confirmation that Sporting Kansas City's versatile Honduras midfielder Roger Espinoza will be joining Wigan in January after being granted permission to work in the UK.

'He is someone who physically is really capable and has a gifted left foot,' Martinez told www.wiganlatics.co.uk.

'Having someone with such a good left foot gives a balance to the squad because most players are primarily right-footed.

'He's developed his tactical awareness and has learned how to play in different systems.

'Roger can play in any position in the midfield and can even play out in a wide left position, so we are delighted to capture a player with such versatility and stature.'

Reinforcements: Roberto Martinez has confirmed the signing of versatile Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza

Reinforcements: Roberto Martinez has confirmed the signing of versatile Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza from MLS side Sporting Kansas City

Thierry Henry will not join Arsenal on loan, says Gerard Houllier

Henry unlikely to join Arsenal on loan in January, says New York Red Bulls adviser Houllier

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UPDATED:

12:23 GMT, 17 December 2012

In doubt: Henry may not join Arsenal in January

In doubt: Henry may not join Arsenal in January

New York Red Bulls global adviser Gerard Houllier has surprisingly cast doubt over Thierry Henry’s proposed move to Arsenal in January.

The French striker is expected to return on loan from the MLS club but former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager Houllier said he believes Henry will prefer to rest with his family over Christmas after his partner gave birth to a baby boy in August.

Speaking to French TV station Canal Plus, Houllier said: ‘I find it strange what we hear in the media. If Arsene needed him, he would have called me or sporting director Andy Roxburgh, but this is not the case.

‘I do not think both parties need to have this second comeback. Moreover, he became a dad. I think he will want to enjoy the holidays.’

Third time lucky: Henry has already had two separate spells at Arsenal

Third time lucky: Henry has already had two separate spells at Arsenal

Henry spent two months on loan with Arsenal last January, scoring two goals in seven appearances.

Arsenal intend to bring in another striker in January with Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Demba Ba among their targets while they also maintain strong interest in Atletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez and Wilfried Zaha at Crystal Palace.

Adrian Lewis survives scare against Gino Vos at World Darts Championship

Vos almost hits the Jackpot! World champion Lewis survives a scare on opening night at Ally Pally

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UPDATED:

13:50 GMT, 15 December 2012

Reigning world champion Adrian Lewis was made to sweat on the opening night of the World Darts Championship as he came from behind to beat young Dutchman Gino Vos.

The two-time winner was out of sorts and had to recover from 1-0 down to see off Vos at Alexandra Palace.

Vos looked at home on the big stage right from the beginning as he took the first leg with a double 16 finish.

Not in the script: Lewis had to recover from 1-0 down to beat Vos

Not in the script: Lewis had to recover from 1-0 down to beat Vos

The two-time champion was the big draw for the crowd on the opening night of the tournament

The two-time champion was the big draw for the crowd on the opening night of the tournament

Struggle: The world champion didn't have things all his own way against the talented Dutchman

Struggle: The world champion didn't have things all his own way against the talented Dutchman

The crowd were enjoying themselves on day one at Ally Pally

The crowd were enjoying themselves on day one at Ally Pally

DAY ONE RESULTS:

Robert Thornton 3-0 Magnus Caris

Paul Nicholson 3-0 Co Stompe

Adrian Lewis 3-1 Gino Vos

Kevin Painter 3-0 Leung Chun Nam

The 22-year-old then hit a 180 in the next leg and, as the crowd chanted his name, he broke the reigning champion’s throw to take a shock 2-0 lead in the first set.

Lewis then couldn’t capitalise on the Dutchman missing three doubles in the next leg as Vos took the opening set 3-0 to stun the two-time winner.

Jackpot had to respond in the second set and he did so by moving 2-0 ahead before carelessly busting his checkout to allow Vos to break back. But Lewis took the fourth leg to seal the set and draw level at 1-1.

Lewis held his nerve to win 3-1 and book his place in the second round

Lewis held his nerve to win 3-1 and book his place in the second round

The smurfs were in the crowd to see Lewis's win

The smurfs were in the crowd to see Lewis's win

It looked like the rookie’s resolve would be broken by Lewis’s comeback but his promising form continued as he went 2-0 up in third set.

But he let Lewis let off the hook by missing two darts at double four which would’ve won the set and the world champion quickly levelled at 2-2 with a 108 finish in the fourth leg.

And Lewis showed his class by hitting a 180 at a crucial time in the deciding leg of the set before hitting double five to take a 2-1 lead. Vos continued to fight but Lewis won the fourth set 3-1 to advance to the next round next Saturday night.

A relieved Lewis admitted it was not a great start by him but that the most important thing was getting the victory.

He told Sky Sports: 'At the end of the day it makes no difference (the performance), I won. Forget about that game now, it's gone. That was first to three sets, now it's first to four sets. I'll settle a lot quicker and hopefully I can get the job done.

'The first round is probably the hardest one. That first one there was probably harder than the finals I've played, the simple reason being that you're nervous.'

In the first match of the tournament, UK Open champion Robert Thornton romped to a 3-0 win over Swede Magnus Caris.

Caris, who had lost in the first
round on all three previous appearances at the World Championship, only
won one leg and never threatened the dominant Scot.

The
Thorn checked out 150 in the first leg of the match and followed up by
winning the next two legs to take the opening set. The Swede then won
the first leg of the second set but Thornton reeled off three straight
legs to move 2-0 ahead and just one set away from victory.

UK Open champion Robert Thornton started the night with a comfortable 3-0 win over Magnus Caris

UK Open champion Robert Thornton started the night with a comfortable 3-0 win over Magnus Caris

The Asset: Paul Nicholson also won on the opening night as he beat Dutch veteran Co Stompe 3-0

The Asset: Paul Nicholson also won on the opening night as he beat Dutch veteran Co Stompe 3-0

Nicholson will play Thornton in round two next Friday

Nicholson will play Thornton in round two next Friday

And
the UK Open champion finished the match just how he started it with
back-to-back checkouts of 150 and 130 to cruise into the second round
with an impressive performance.

Thornton’s
opponent in the last 32 will be Paul Nicholson after The Asset brushed
aside Co Stompe 3-0. Nicholson lost just two legs to the Dutch veteran
to set up a mouth-watering tie with Thornton next Friday.

Both Stompe and Nicholson had trouble finishing early on as they shared the first two
legs, but Nicholson checked out 106 in the third leg and 76 in the
fourth leg against the throw to win the opening set.

The second set was a carbon copy of the first as Nicholson won back-to-back legs from 1-1 to go two sets up.

And
The Asset didn’t waste much time in finishing off his opponent as he
pounced on the Dutchman’s poor finishing to break his throw in the
second leg of the third set, before sealing his comfortable 3-0 win.

Kevin Painter rounded off the evening with a comfortable 3-0 win over qualifier Leung Chun Nam.

The
Artist won the first two sets, both by three legs to one, before winning
the third set 3-0 on an entertaining first night.

Day two sees Phil Taylor kick off his quest for a 16th world title with John Part, Dave Chisnall and Terry Jenkins also in action during Saturday's double session at Ally Pally.

The Artist: Kevin Painter eased to a 3-0 win over Leung Chun Nam in the last match of the evening

The Artist: Kevin Painter eased to a 3-0 win over Leung Chun Nam in the last match of the evening

The jester from Leicester: Snooker star Mark Selby was among the big names in attendance

The jester from Leicester: Snooker star Mark Selby was among the big names in attendance

Adrian Lewis: Darts should be in Olympic Games

We don't spend our lives down the pub, darts should be an Olympic sport, claims two-time world champion Lewis

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UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 13 December 2012

World Champion Adrian Lewis has called for darts to be introduced into the Olympic Games.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline on the eve of the PDC World Darts Championship, Lewis insisted: 'Darts should definitely be in the Olympic Games. Can you tell me any difference between archery and darts or shooting and darts

'It's a very similar concept and both of those are in the Olympic Games. And don't forget that darts is also a hugely popular sport.'

Hat-trick: Lewis is going for his third World Championship title

Hat-trick: Lewis is going for his third World Championship title

And Lewis, who claimed the World Championship title in both 2010 and 2011, has dismissed the reputation that darts players have in certain quarters of being 'heavy drinkers' and has called on the critics of the sport to try darts out for themselves if they believe it to be so simple.

Lewis, 27, continued: 'I know people say that we are a load of beer drinkers but we are far more professional these days. These critics should come and have a go at playing darts if they think it is so easy.

'We don't spend our lives at dartboards in the pub – we are at home practising. It is one of the most skilful sports in the world and there is no reason as to why it shouldn't be in the Olympics.'

Lewis, who defended his World Title by defeating Andy Hamilton 7-3 in last year's final, is confident of his chances ahead of the tournament, and is excited by the prospect of defending his title for a third consecutive time.

At the double: Lewis claimed back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011

At the double: Lewis claimed back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011

'It would be an incredible achievement to win three in a row. To make history like that would be fantastic. I was very proud after winning the World Championship the first time, so to win it three times, and consecutively, would be great.

'I'm in good form and feel ready. I've been to a few charity and sponsors' events recently but have had a week off and practised and I feel refreshed and prepared.'

And Lewis has admitted that it would be a dream to face darts legend, Phil Taylor, in the final of the tournament at The Ally Pally.

'To play and beat Phil in the final would be fantastic. He is the greatest darts player in history,' added Lewis.

'But once you are out there, you just have to play your own game and not think too much about who you are playing.'

Taylor, 52, boasts a world record 15 World Championship wins, and has been something of a father figure to Lewis, who credits Taylor hugely with his development.

'Phil and I are great mates. We have a lot of banter but he has given me so much help over the years. I used to train with him when I was younger, which was an incredible experience for me.

'What I learnt from him was how to be dedicated to the sport. I was at his house the day after he had won the World title in 2004, and I thought Phil may have had a bit of a break and relax for a bit. But he was at that dartboard practising the morning after. That's how motivated and dedicated he is. He is simply the best.'

One Direction face competition from Gary Anderson as darts ace releases 2013 calendar

Foul play from Anderson as darts star releases 2013 calendar for 'men with only a six pack in the fridge'

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UPDATED:

13:34 GMT, 12 December 2012

Gary Anderson is braced for battle with Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis at Alexandra Palace this Christmas but the Scot is facing an even stiffer challenge from pop stars One Direction.

Anderson, preparing for the World Championships at the famous Ally Pally, goes up against the latest British boy band and the likes of Justin Bieber and JLS in the 2013 calendar market.

Scot Anderson has teamed up with his sponsor Foul Fashion to release a calendar for 'men with only a six-pack in the fridge'.

Looking good: Gary Anderson has teamed up with Foul Fashion for a 2013 calendar

Looking good: Gary Anderson has teamed up with Foul Fashion for a 2013 calendar

The company produces 'horrendous and shocking shirts' and Anderson is snapped wearing them in a variety of poses to see fans through the next 12 months.

Sales of the shirts have rocketed by 200 per cent since Anderson wore one for the first time at the Grand Slam in Wolverhampton and the Ally Pally runner-up two years ago will be sporting the courageous clobber for every match he plays.

Ali Smeaton, co-founder of Foul Fashion, said: 'Gary Anderson was the perfect choice for our shirts. He’s a king of darts, Foul Fashion is the king of the party – the match was a no-brainer.

What a shot: Anderson in February

Calendar boy: Gary Anderson

'The calendar came to light after the constant promotion of the same old calendars, and we wanted to prove that not all of them have to star Adonis style sportsmen and celebrities.

'Gary was brilliant during the calendar shoot, even coming up with some of the shot concept himself.

'Foul Fashion is for people who are not scared of the limelight and who love to party, darts is a sport with a large and ever increasing following, an audience who love to have a few beers and a great time – otherwise known as real men. Hence the real man’s calendar.'

Anderson kicks off his bid for glory against the winner of Jarkko Komula v Jani Haavisto on Sunday night.

Taylor starts as favourite, ahead of Michael van Gerwen and Lewis.

Party time: Anderson will be wearing the unique shirts at Ally Pally