Winmau, the world’s leading darts brand, has further expanded its team of international darts stars with the signing of Greece’s John Michael.
The gritty Greek World Cup star has revealed he gave up show jumping to become an oche champion.
The Athens ace will line-up with Veniamin Symeonidis to take on Finland for their first-round clash in early June in Frankfurt.
But Michael, 44, admitted that he was Greece’s national show jumping champion before swapping thoroughbreds for three-in-a-beds.
He said: “I loved darts from when I was a young child. I loved anything with a target. If I had a toy gun I would shoot at a target or a bow and arrow.
“So I put up a paper board in my bedroom and played and ever since then I have always thrown darts every day.
“But I was also riding horses, and when I was 17 I was Greece’s national champion which was a very proud moment. I still work as a farrier at home, which is hoof care for horses.
“Now I want to be a champion at darts. I have won 16 national titles and I am very proud to have signed for such a legendary company. Winmau have belief in me and that gives me confidence.
“I work very hard to move up the rankings. I lost my tour card by just £250 which was very frustrating and although I played well in the Q School, the standard was very high. I’m still in the Challenge Tour and I’m doing my best, but for now I am aiming to get back in the world top 64.”
Michael, nicknamed Deadly Rose, became the first Greek to qualify for a major PDC tournament, the 2011 European Championship. He is also eyeing a few Betway World Cup shocks but refuses to look beyond facing the Finns.
He added: “There are lots of surprises in the World Cup. Of course we all dream of winning but for now I just look at first game against Finland, nothing more.
“It would be nice to beat some big names but it is very tough. If we get into the second round perhaps we start to dream bigger.”
Ian Flack, Winmau’s Sales and Marketing Director, added: “Our Greek distributor, Achro, have long been an admirer of John and we are delighted to finally bring him into the Winmau team. John has the determination, skill and positive attitude to succeed and we have no doubt he will be climbing the rankings in the future”.