Paul Lim, soft-tip, nine-darters and snake chef

By JR Lott 19/12/2020

PAUL LIM is still winning on the World Championship stage at the age of 66.
His epic 3-2 victory over Luke Humphries adding yet another chapter to his remarkable career.
A Worlds record that now, remarkably spans five decades.
We take a look at the Lim Legacy, a special feature in Issue 570 of Darts World....

By JR Lott

Paul Lim may be the perfectly symbolize the future of darts. The legendary ‘Singapore Slinger’, now 66, is certainly the ultimate Hybrid darter. He has played big-time darts for almost forty years and been successful in every arena and format the game has offered.

His overall significance to the sport may outweigh any of his individual achievements, although there are so many it’s hard to be certain. Target’s ‘Legend’ has triumphed in the BDO as well as in the PDC, he has twice been a world champion in soft tip darts, almost twenty years and two different codes separated his 1996 and 2017 triumphs.

In between these individual efforts, Paul has represented four different nations in World Cups and team events. 

Who would not bet against him reappearing, and succeeding, in the remote darts realm?

Lim burst onto the professional scene by winning the Australian Grand masters in 1983 over the next half dozen years Lim made a plethora of quarter and semi-final appearances in major steel tip events, including the World Cup Singles and World Matchplay, across the globe. Then in 1990 Lim wrote his name indelibly in darts history.

John Lowe had hit the first TV perfect leg a few years before. Yet, none had been hit since until Lim stepped up to the Lakeside oche. Nine sublime darts later the Singapore ace hit a plumb double twelve to complete the first World Championship ‘Nine’.

A brief look on YouTube shows just how clean and controlled his effort was. Lim was now an icon in the game.

Sadly, Lim’s great moment coincided with a decline in the TV popularity of steel tip darts, especially in the UK. Lim continued to play the biggest events but could not sustain himself with that alone. In an effort to boost his career and earning potential he combined his steel tip efforts with North American soft-tip tournament. Again, his efforts paid off in a major way.

In 1996 Lim claimed his first World title. His victory in the Bull Shooter soft–tip championships confirmed that he could play at an elite level in either format, something he has continued to the present day.

During the following years Lim became what in other sports would be considered a’ journeyman pro’ he played the major events in both formats. In addition, he demonstrated he could play in any company. From 1994 Lim played within the PDC system and competed with players such as Phil Taylor and Dennis Priestley.

For most of this period he was based in either the USA Japan or his native Singapore. However, by the 2000s Lim was no longer reaching the later stages or collecting serious prize money and a great career looked to be winding down. Then something remarkable happened, in 2011 soft tip darts underwent a major makeover and guess who became its instant poster boy…

As part of a re-packaging, of the machine based soft tip game, a $1,000,000 World Championship was held in Hong Kong. In a field packed full of soft-tip super stars, and steel tip icons, Lim came through to claim the title aged 57 (the same age as current BDO champ Wayne Warren).

In a remarkable piece of happenstance, the PDC arranged a commercial tie-up with the new DartsLive organisation, which Lim was already dominating, an extended an invitation to their champion to play the PDC World Championship at Ally Pally. The following year he qualified again via the Dartslive route.

By now he had completely mastered the art of playing hybrid darts. He seemed focused on soft-tip in Asia and still crossed back and forth to play PDC events including World Cups. 

His gentlemanly demeanour  and iconic status ensured he became a firm favourite with the fans. But Lim was not merely a performing seal and not yet finished with creating moments of darting drama.

In 2017 Singapore pulled of one of the biggest shocks seen in the PDC’s World Cup of darts, when they defeated Scotland’s crack team of Gary Anderson and Peter Wright. They went on to defeat Spain in round two and reach the quarter-finals. 

The very next year Lim created a moment of almost perfect sporting nostalgia, the opponent; Gary Anderson, of course.

The 2018 World Championship saw Lim roll back the years and defeat former World Champion Mark Webster. 

His last 16 game featured a remarkable moment. Lim seemed to be tired and started slowly, before suddenly producing six perfect darts. The crowd realised what could be happening, his opponent, Anderson, knew what was happening, but could it? Could lightning strike twice nearly 30 years apart?

Paul Lim, 63 years old was about to complete a phenomenal legacy of global, multi-format, multi-code and multi-era darting glory. The perfect bookend to a remarkable journey.

The first two darts found their targets and with a near hysterical crowd Lim went to release the 9th dart. In a highly unusual moment, there was a very faint twitch and the dart missed the double 12 bed. The disappointment was universal, Anderson looked almost as crestfallen as Limmy.

Despite the miss Lim was lauded around  the globe and the reminder of his remarkable career.

Just in case you think the story is over, think again.

In 2018 the PDC launched their Asian (Steel tip) tour and yes, you guessed it the first Tai Pai weekend saw one player reach the final of event one and then win event two. That player? Paul Lim.

By Phil Lanning

THE darting chef, three World Champion legends, a rat and snake.

If they were walking into a pub, you’d think it was the beginning of a joke.

But this is one the most remarkable stories in darting folklore. 

Paul Lim has been at the very top of the oche for 40 years. Now aged 66, the Singaporean Slinger has shown ‘em all how it’s done over the years.

No other player on the planet can boast to have gone toe-to-toe with the likes or Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Jocky Wilson, Gary Anderson and Peter Wright.

But Lim has most recently dumped Scotland out of the World Cup prior to their success of last year and also come within one dart of two remarkable World Championship nine-darters in different codes, almost 30 years apart.

However, the most notorious of all stories was when Lim treated his old rivals to a slap up meal to show off his culinary skills.

That’s when he cooked up rat and snake for his pals Brissy, Lowey and Jocky…

He revealed: “My darts career started by accident really in London when I was training to be a chef.

"My flatmates got me to go to the pub with them all the time but I've never been a big drinker so instead I just played darts.

"I got to a decent level, then played on TV facing the likes of Lowe, Bristow and Jocky. John and Eric liked my food back then, no matter what it was.

"I'm a trained chef in French cooking, so no more rat or snake now! It would have to be only ratatouille!”

Lim has a CV longer than a python taking a morning stretch. He has played for THREE different countries at the World Cup – beginning with Papua New Guinea before joining the USA and now representing his birth nation, Singapore.

Lim also became the only player to hit a perfect leg on the BBC – six years after Old Stoneface Lowe produced the first-ever TV nine-darter on World of Sport.

But Lowe, who played against Lim in his first World Cup and went on to beat him in five World Championships, reckons any opponent should beware the trained cordon bleu chef – after he cooked rat and ordered snake for him and Eric Bristow.

He said: “I’ve known Paul for 45 years and he’s a great bloke. On his day he can beat anyone in the world.

“He’s also a real character. He told Eric and I and a few of the other players that he would cook for us one time in his restaurant.

“It was a feast, amazing stuff. We ate the lot – then afterwards he told us it was cooked rat!

“Another time he took me to a restaurant in Singapore and they served us snake. There were poisonous snakes hanging from poles and we chose one.

“They cut it up in front of us and took out the poison, cooked it and actually it was nice, tasting like lobster.

“But Paul’s also a good player. He’s beaten all the top boys and anyone who can hit a TV nine-darter has tons of ability.

“If Paul is in the mood then he could make them sweat, on the oche or in the kitchen.”

Picture by Lawrence Lustig.


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