James Wade says rivals Deep Heat was burning his eyes at darts major

James Wade says he was left with ‘burning eyes’ due to his opponent’s Deep Heat at the European Championship.

The Machine has experienced a lot during his long darts career, but there was a first during his first round match with Dirk van Duijvenbode in Dortmund. Wade came through 6-3 despite having to contend with a strong odour coming from the Dutchman.

Wade believes Van Duijvenbode had doused himself with the strong spelling spray which is used to help circulation and ease muscle stiffness. Speaking after the game, he said: “Dirk's obviously not very well. He had a lot of Deep Heat on, it was burning my eyes for the first three of four legs.

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“Then I adapted to it but when I did get to 3-1, I kept thinking about the Deep Heat. I've never experienced that. It made my eyes water.”

Ahead of the tournament, Wade wrote in his latest exclusive Daily Star Sport column that 2023 has “not been a year that is going to take up a lot of space in my autobiography”.

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However, with a run of upcoming majors, culminating in the World Championship, Wade is hoping to end the year on a high and insists his motivation is still strong. Asked if he was content with his year to date, he replied: “I've looked at my earnings for the last 12 months, why would I be content?

“I've been off the back end of being really not well but you can't keep harping on about it. That's reality. People will say it's an excuse, but I know where I was and I know what I did. I'm not content and I'm not happy.

“That's why I'm still here. Financially, I could walk away from the game tomorrow and be happily ever after. But I think I'd have a left a few stones unturned. But I've still not unturned enough stones.

“I want to win another tournament, that would be a quick march for me and a quick step, and easy entry back into the top flight of darts. At the moment I'm playing like a beginner again. In there when he [Van Duijvenbode] was struggling like mad, I had nothing to give and it’s disappointing.”

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