By Phil Lanning
PETER WRIGHT admits he fears that Covid could rob him going for a second World Championship.
The Livingston-born ace will be taking extra care to avoid contact with anyone during the Christmas break from the Ally Pally.
Wright, 51, faces Damon Heta on Tuesday night but revealed that the biggest fear backstage is picking up the new strain of the virus. It was revealed on Christmas Eve that Raymond van Barneveld had picked up Covid after being KO’d by Rob Cross.
He said: “You don’t want to get out of the World Championships. No-one does.
“Every player is different. Personally, the PDC and everyone has done the best they can do. Everyone has taken their tests before they come here.
“But you don’t know what people are doing outside. Going to restaurants, mixing.
“Then if you have Covid, it doesn’t come through straight away. It can be two or three days. We have our own place away from everyone and don’t even go out.
“Nothing at all. Just stay in. If you get a delivery, wash hands and do everything possible to not get it.
“With this new virus, I was watching This Morning and someone was saying 23 people went out at night as a party and 19 came back with the new Covid.
“So either they were silly or it’s just how it can be passed on that quickly. We all have to be careful.”
Wright also admitted that he would rather the tournament was postponed than risk it becoming a super spreader event.
“It’s more important not to have a risk for everyone. It’s lives we are talking about. If this is postponed, lives are more important.
“We’ve all been told, we have all been warned. Don’t touch crowd, officials, anyone. We just have to be very, very careful.
“I had my booster vaccination and it knocked me for six. I couldn’t practice for two days. It affects people differently and I’m glad I had it done.”
Despite his pandemic fears, Wright is convinced he can go on to regain his title.
He added: “I think I’ll win it. You don’t have to play well until January 3. That’s all that matters so long as you keep winning. It doesn’t matter if you are lucky or scrape through.
“I was very impressed with Gezzy’s last couple of legs. He showed why he’s World Champion and World No.1. That was special.
“And Gary had a really difficult game against Adrian Lewis and used new darts. When he started throwing them properly, they went sweet. Oh my God.
“He’s a big danger in this tournament. He always is. He has been in the Final five times and won twice, so why the bookies had him at 33/1 I’ve no idea. That was crazy. He loves this tournament.”
Wright will also avoid an outfit with long sleeves after being caught out with his Christmas tree-looking kit for his opener.
He added: “Normally it is minus-odd outside and freezing up on the stage.
“So instead of having something on the arms to keep them warm, I thought I’d go long sleeves and how hot was it.
“I wanted to cut the sleeves off in the break. I got through without playing well.
“I have another one of the outfits with long sleeves, but it will be short sleeves because I will be cutting them off. Unless it is snowing.”
Images by Taylor Lanning.