Van Barneveld discusses Omicron threat after World Darts Championship return: "This is a nightmare"

Raymond van Barneveld made his triumphant return to the PDC World Darts Championship last night seeing off Lourence Ilagan after the bad memories of the last two years when he lost to Darin Young and saw his career ended.

"I thought I was never getting back here. I said goodbye two years ago but it was never a goodbye. It was wrong, that year was the worst in my life. I said this is not the way I deserve to say goodbye to the fans and to myself. I never thought I was coming back to this level," said Van Barneveld post match.

"I had one goal, get my Tour Card and focus on the World Championship. Now I'm in the second round."

But for Barney, he revelled in the return of the Barney Army and still very much has the belief.

"Tonight was an amazing night to be in front of the crowd again. That means more to me than anything. The feeling that my grandchildren are watching me, there's nothing better than that."

"I can still do things, maybe not now, maybe next year. For the last couple of weeks, I'm hitting unbelievable averages. The confidence in the game is growing by the day."

Omicron threat

But there is a sense of it being the final time crowds are there every time it is played with Van Barneveld himself scared that he will test positive for Covid-19 calling it a 'nightmare'.

"I'm really thinking this is going to be a nightmare this week. Maybe they cancel the whole tournament. Maybe this was my last night I play in front of crowd. It's not easy to focus on that, that gives you stress. You don't want stress. Now you've got something extra: stay negative. But that's easy as I've never been positive in my life," he joked.

But the optimism is there in his game that he can still lift trophies and be back to his best.

"You know me, I'm Ray I lift trophies for a living and if anyone says any different, they're lying. I still believe I can do this."

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