Ted Hankey is one of the controversial characters in darts, his relationship to the crowd is somewhere between love and hate and often enough it
happened player and crowd goaded each other.
On stage Hankey tends to react emotional. It can happen he punches the board in anger or shows the spectators in explicit gestures his disapprove -
that last occurred during the Grand Slam in November 2010.
In the light of this facts I felt slightly unsure during the Grand Slam 2009 of asking him for an interview. But I observed that the Ted Hankey offside the stage is in no way scaring but polite, affable and cooperative. So I decided should I have the chance again in 2010 to do the interview. But this time my scheduling was mixed up ...
Thanks to Red Dragon Darts in the end I succeeded, but thought Ted Hankey - probably not as well known as the top PDC players to everybody - would deserve a short biography as well.
Ted, you are around for a long time already - when did you start to play darts?
I started to play darts when I was 9 with a few mates, and we soon got involved with the local pub side and it went from there.
What was your first big success?
I'd won many open events, but my biggest first success was winning the Dutch Open in 1999. That was a very special win for me.
Why do you think it happens regularly in the BDO that a champion can't keep his title in the following year? Is it really that there is such a lot of talent around?
The year after winning the Lakeside World Championship is such a busy one that in a strange way your darts practice can get pushed to the side a bit. You only need to lose a little focus and the other guys who are in form will take your place. The talent and standard of the players in the BDO is extremely high, as many players who would not be known on the High Street regularly throw 30 plus averages against you.
How did you get on with your PDC colleagues there? Probably in private live there is not such a split???
I've got great friends who play on the PDC circuit and so there is no split off the oche. The rivalry is healthy and adds some spice to games.
Do you like playing on stage?
I love it more than anything else, the buzz of a packed crowd and TV cameras is what we all strive for.
Does the crowd in any way still affect you?
If fans are hell bent on showing no respect for players on their throw then it can affect me. Everyone thinks I'm the "bad boy" but I'm far from it. Booing has become part of the drama, but when players are throwing they should respect that so we can put on the best possible show.
I suppose you are a full-time pro - can one earn a good living with the BDO price money or is it necessary to have a sponsor and to do exhibitions?
You can earn a good living on the BDO but as events tend to be at the weekend you need to do something to keep you busy in the week. Having sponsors is great as it helps you plan the year ahead.
Do you think there are room and money and players enough for two darts organisations?
Yes there is as darts has to be accessible for all. The BDO do a great job at making this possible as well as having the advantage of terrestrial TV coverage, and the PDC have their own niche in the market.
Do you like playing exhibitions?
Yes I really enjoy them as I meet so many genuine fans. Every now and again I get beaten!!
You play very light darts - did you always play such a weight?
Yes for as long as I can remember. My throw is light and that's what suits it.
You often hear from top players who play around with different set-ups and different darts - are you one of those or do you think you've got the ideal set-up and stick to it?
The latest change I made was to my new Winmau darts and I've not changed my set up since and that was 3 years ago.
Do you still practice?
Yes I play darts nearly every day and work through several of my practice routines.
Do you something special to prepare for a really important tournament like the World Championship?
Hopefully I've played enough competitive darts to be ready, as if you have to do loads of practice it can leave you mentally tired.
And do you think you still can get better?
Ha ha of course I can, as like most Pro's we seldom hit the averages that we hit in practice on stage!
Are you still motivated - you are already a two time World Champion?
I'm hungrier for the 3rd Lakeside title than I was for my first.
Have you got hobbies and interests outside of darts?
Yes I love music - I'm a bit of a metal head!