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World Darts Championship favourite Michael van Gerwen to cut short Christmas celebrations to avoid ending title dream

OCHE FAVOURITE Michael van Gerwen will cut short his Christmas celebrations early to avoid being stranded at home.

About 1,000 Border Force workers – many of whom check passports at airports – are taking strike action across the UK until New Year’s Eve except for Tuesday December 27.

Michael van Gerwen will have to cut short his Christmas to keep his title dream alive

As the country grinds to a halt over the Festive period, Eurostar trains on Boxing Day have also been cancelled due to RMT train strikes.

As a consequence, the roads in the South East, the Eurotunnel services and Channel ferries are expected to be extremely busy and potentially disrupted.

Van Gerwen is in Holland now with his wife Daphne and two kids but plans to drive 490km to North London once he has digested his Xmas lunch.

As the man to beat at this year’s PDC World Darts Championship, Mighty Mike is determined to ensure nothing outside of his control stops him going for a fourth world title and the £500,000 first prize.

The 33-year-old is set to play Austrian slow-coach Mensur Suljovic in the last 32 on the evening of Wednesday December 28.

The No.3 seed said: “I’m a little bit edgy about all the strikes in England – on Eurostar, with the border control – which doesn’t make it easy.

“But I’m coming back Christmas Day in the evening, to give myself an extra day.

“I hope the queues are not that long.

“I’ve never travelled on Christmas Day before – I’ve either stayed in London or come back on Boxing Day.

“I’m the man to beat, even in the bad times when I couldn’t win a tournament, they were always most happy when they beat me.


“But I have brought that on myself by playing really well for the last 10 years.

“I’ll take it on the chin when that happens – but it’s not going to happen at this world championship.”

Two years ago, Van Gerwen did a Chris Rea and drove home for Christmas but was then forced to abruptly change his plans when it was announced the continental borders were being slammed shut.

The French government reacted over concerns of a new variant strain of Covid-19 found in the UK and Van Gerwen had to spend Xmas away from his family.

Last year, there was even more chaos and heartache as he withdrew from his third-round tie with Chris Dobey after testing positive for coronavirus.

This followed Christmas lunch spent with pals Vincent van der Voort – who also quit the tournament after contracting the killer bug – and Dirk van Duijvenbode.

It is remarkable to think that there were even calls last year for the 2022 tournament to be scrapped as some players produced two lines on their lateral flow tests.

This time, it’s travel chaos which could impact the playing schedule.

But Van Duijvenbode – who plays in the third round on Thursday December 29 – is looking forward to time with his nearest and dearest.

Van Gerwen is in Holland now but plans to drive 490km to North London once he has digested his Xmas lunch

Aubergine man Van Duijvenbode said: “I’m going home for Christmas – otherwise I will strike for my next round. Not on purpose, of course.

“If no-one is bringing me to the UK, then I will swim the Channel!

“There are so many options – flying, the car train, the personal train or the boat to across the sea. There are many possibilities.

“If not, I will see if my manager Jason can get me a helicopter!

“If there is some occasion where they say they will strike for a week, if something occurs, I will come back earlier. That’s what I did two years ago.

“You just watch the news and if there is any bad news, you adjust your travel plans.”

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