The former world darts champion Richie Burnett has rebuilt his career once, and looks set to do it again winning his first PDC Challenge Tour at the weekend. Burnett was banned for 18 months in December 2014, after testing positive for cocaine during the Grand Slam of Darts qualifying competition. The 1995 Lakeside Champion only returned to action last month and proved that form is temporary, and class is permanent. Burnett claimed his first PDC title in over five years when he beat Ryan Searle 5-2 to claim the £2000 first prize.
Burnett broke his silence on the whole affair in October last year when took to Twitter.
“I’d like to apologise to fans for my actions last year which has resulted in this ban.Those close to me will know the personal challenges I have faced over recent years. Depression is an illness which affects people in different ways and impairs their decision-making.” “So I have been using this time to seek professional help and will continue to do so.” “I’d like to place on record my thanks to my sponsors for sticking by me during these very difficult times.” “I am determined to return to the game next May and to be competitive at the highest level.” “By committing to improving my mental health and well-being as well as my physical health, I am sure I can compete again.” (Source Richie Burnett’s Twitter)
When Burnett vowed to play at the highest level again, many thought that this would be impossible! But Richie has already managed to rebuild his career once, between 2005 -2010 Burnett disappeared off the darting radar. Then in 2010 he Burnett picked up his darts again and started to play again. In 2011 he won his first PDC Pro Tour beating Dave Chisnall. Burnett clawed himself up the mountain that is the PDC order of merit when you are starting with nothing to get yourself in the top 32 players in the world was an unbelievable achievement. Burnett will now need to do the same, but winning on the Challenge Tour is a significant step as the strength in the PDC is at a record high. It would be a brave man to bet against Richie Burnett doing it again.
By Phill Barrs