Paul Lim's nine-dart finish at Lakeside revisited 25 years on

By Phil CartwrightBBC Sport
Classic Arrows - Paul Lim's 9-darter
BDO World Championships 2015
Date: 3-11 January 2015 Venue: Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, online, mobiles, tablets and BBC Sport app.

Paul Lim needed just 67 seconds to achieve darting immortality.

"Who would ever think a guy from Singapore would hit the first nine-darter at the World Championship?" the 60-year-old told BBC Sport.

"I think I got lucky. There was a darts god up there looking after me.

"It became the start of something for me - my life and my future. It was all from the nine-darter.

"Without that, I don't think anybody would know who I am."

Lim threw his perfect leg against Jack McKenna at Lakeside on 9 January, 1990. It was his life's defining moment and, 25 years on, remains the only thing that people want to talk to him about.

"Even now, people recognise me and say 'here's the legend, the nine-dart man' and things like that," said Lim, who now divides his time between his home in California and work commitments in Hong Kong.

Notable nine-darters
1984: John Lowe v Keith DellerFirst televised nine-dart finish
1990: Paul Lim v Jack McKennaFirst at the World Championship
2009: Raymond van Barneveld v Jelle KlaasenFirst at the PDC World Championship
2010: Phil Taylor v James WadeFirst to hit two nine-dart finishes in one match
2011: Adrian Lewis v Gary AndersonFirst in a World Championship final
2011: Brendan Dolan v James WadeFirst in the double-start format
2014: James Wade v Robert ThorntonFirst match in which both players have hit a nine-dart finish

"I recently went to a tournament in Malaysia. I've not played there since about 1985. Everyone wanted a picture with me and all they mentioned was the nine-dart game, which is amazing after all these years. It's really something."

Darts is one of the few sports that can measure perfection. Snooker has the 147 break, golf has the hole-in-one, darts has the nine-dart finish.

Only John Lowe had achieved it on television before, and nobody had ever managed it at the World Championship.

"That was the reason why they were always so hyped up about the nine-dart game," said Lim, who is still the only player to achieve the feat at a BDO World Championship.

John Lowe
John Lowe threw the first televised nine-dart finish against Keith Deller in 1984

"It was my greatest moment in darts, definitely."

Lim, who was introduced to the sport while working as a chef in a west London pub, arrived at Frimley Green in 1990 as a familiar face to darts followers but by no means a star name. He had appeared in the previous eight World Championships but had never made it past the last 16.

He defeated Ray Battye in round one and came close to a nine-darter in that match, before finally making history in round two against McKenna.

"When you hit the first 180, it automatically goes into your mind - you are going for the nine-darter," he revealed.

"When I got the second 180, my mind went into that zone. Sometimes, in the moment, you are in a zone. That's why Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen are such great players. They are able to get into that zone and everything is blocked out. You get into that zone where you just know you're going to hit it."

The secret to Lim's nine-dart finish?
"Funnily enough, the day I did the nine-darter against Jack McKenna, I played golf that morning. I just felt so good. The body and everything was loosened up. I just felt really good that day, but of course I never thought I was going to do a nine-darter. You hope to, but you never think it."

After two consecutive 180s, a 141 checkout - treble 20, treble 19 and double 12 - secured Lim's spot in darts folklore.

He eventually beat McKenna, and although he lost in the quarter-finals to Cliff Lazarenko, Lim took home a total of £55,000 in prize money - more than double the amount of that year's world champion.

"The British Government took a chunk of my winnings in tax, but the rest? It did good," he continued. "It got me started with my little electronics business and it led to a lot of things for me.

"About 18 years ago, an electronic darts company got me involved with them and I started playing electronic darts for the first time. I actually did quite well, won a lot of tournaments, and eventually the company got me involved to be a promoter and opening up new markets.

"For the past three years, Dartsliveexternal-link have got me involved as a consultant about new ideas and new tournaments. I work for them now but I have more time to play darts and I can travel a lot more."

Michael van Gerwen and Paul Lim
Paul Lim played in two recent PDC World Championships, losing to Michael van Gerwen in 2012

Lim's run to the last eight in 1990 proved to be his best performance in 20 World Championship appearances. Despite relatively limited success, he is one of the most revered names in darts.

The reason? Because whatever your sport of choice, there is something uniquely special about seeing perfection accomplished, and not much in darts can equal the drama and the thrill of a nine-dart finish.

"People might not talk about the person that won the championship - there might be a few people that talk about that - but there are more people that talk about a guy doing a nine-darter," said Lim.

Ask most darts fans who was the first player to hit a nine-dart finish at a World Championship, and they will tell you straight away it was Paul Lim in 1990.

Probably not as many would know who went on to win that tournament. It was Phil Taylor. Now I wonder what happened to him?