Hankey celebrates at the 2013 Grand Slam (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Two-time World Champion Ted Hankey has revealed his plans for a competitive comeback in the BDO system after enduring a difficult spell away from the oche.
Hankey, who claimed Lakeside glory in 2000 and 2009, has not featured in a BDO tournament since the World Masters last October amid personal problems.
But ‘The Count’, 51, has made a series of lifestyle changes he hopes will help him recapture the form which made him a major force in the sport more than a decade ago.
“I’m doing a lot of things differently now,” Hankey told Live Darts.
“I’m changing the way I eat, the way I drink and I’m practicing every afternoon and every night.
“I’ve been through a lot of problems over the last 12 months, especially with my dad passing away, and I’ve had to battle with things and get myself right.
“Now I’m feeling good again and doing what I should be doing.”
Hankey’s last ranking final came at the 2017 Scottish Classic, while his last appearance in front of the TV cameras saw him suffer a Last 32 exit in the 2016 World Darts Trophy.
The two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist has outlined his plans to return to action as he aims to gatecrash a Lakeside spot before returning to the circuit full-time in 2020.
He explained: “I start next month with the Luxembourg Open and then I’m going to build into all the other tournaments left this season.
“Hopefully something might happen and I can maybe qualify for a World Masters or Lakeside place and then I’m going to do the full season straight after and go from there.
“I’ve got mates around me now who are practicing with me every afternoon and night and my game is beginning to go back to where it used to be.
“Everybody takes a dip, whatever problems they have, I’ve had my problems and I’ve brought myself out and I’m going to go forward now.
“I’m playing well, I know I can play better, but at the same time I’m in among a different generation of players so hopefully my experience will get me there.
“I believe in my own ability and I’ll just keep trying and going forward in what I’m doing.”
Hankey was awarded a PDC Tour Card in 2012 after reaching the Semi-Finals of the BDO World Championship and made the high-profile switch to the sport’s elite code, but struggled to make an impact on the floor circuit, failing to surpass the Last 16 of a ranking event.
That poor run of results was arguably the catalyst for the Telford thrower’s decline, but he insists he has no regrets over his decision to accept the invitational Tour Card.
“Not at all,” he added. “Maybe it was a bit of a rushed thing, at the time I think the PDC were giving away Tour Cards to semi-finalists.
“If I’d have thought about it more, maybe I wouldn’t have taken it and gone there a little bit further down the line.
“But at the end of the day I had a good time there, they treated me well, I had a lot of good times there with old friends and who knows in the future? I might be back there again.”
Hankey was renowned as one of darts’ greatest pantomime villains, particularly when competing at the Grand Slam in Wolverhampton, where he was involved in a number of memorable matches.
The Count admits the difference between playing on the ProTour and the televised stage is vast, and says he sympathises with Gerwyn Price after the Welshman was handed a record total of £21,500 in fines for his misconduct during last year’s Grand Slam.
“A lot of people are taking Gerwyn a little too much out of context,” said Hankey.
“He’s not doing an awful lot wrong.
“The game in the PDC, when you play on the tour, you’re quiet, when you get out on TV they want you to make a noise and that’s what Gerwyn’s doing.
“I don’t think he’s doing an awful lot wrong or breaking any rules, I think he’s getting mistreated, myself.
“The fine was totally disgusting, I don’t know how anybody can come up with such a ridiculous number.
“I don’t quite know what he got fined for but I wouldn’t have thought it was that extreme that he got a fine.
“That lad’s just doing what he does, he pumps himself up to go and play darts but so do a lot of other players and I think it’s wrong what they’re doing to him.”