AUSTRALIAN Tony David was the surprise winner of the 25th Embassy World Darts championship, staving off a determined fightback from Ipswich's Mervyn King in a tense final.
The victory was more remarkable considering David suffers from a blood-clotting disorder which means he walks with a limp and cannot straighten his arm.
The 34-year-old world number 18 had battled through a number of battles throughout, including a virus, as he emerged as the unlikely contender to the crown much like Jon ‘Boy' Walton did last year.
Against King he stormed into a 4-1 interval lead and stole the sixth set after being two legs down to move within striking distance of victory.
King pulled one back on the deciding leg of the next set and the eighth set proved just as tight as it went down to the wire.
A packed Lakeside were enthralled as the stakes rose when David had his first shot at the title.
His one dart at double top narrowly missed and King mopped up to take the set and reduce the deficit to 5-3.
The next set followed a similar pattern, going to a deciding leg with David having three darts at double top for the championship.
Again they all narrowly missed and the nerves began to show on the face of David as King moved to within striking distance at 5-4.
The Australian had not got the final without showing some bottle, his semi-final win over Martin Adams was testimony to that.
There he had seen Adams come from three sets down to force a decider only to hold his nerve and claim victory.
And he did the same again against King missing his fifth arrow at double top but landing the second of two at double ten to cue joyous scenes.
David was overcome with emotion and phoned his parents immediately afterwards from the BBC studio. "It's unbelievable. I dreamt of this in 1993 and now it's real. It is something I have always wanted and still can't believe it.
"I had several darts to win it but Mervyn kept coming back. I told myself to grab the moment when it was there.
"The best thing that ever happened to me was the birth of my son but this is the second," added the 50-1 pre-tournament outsider.
A disappointed King gave himself too much to do after a poor start.
He said: "I didn't play well in the first five sets and Tony bashed me up so fair play to him. I only wish I could've pulled of some of the shots that Tony did. He was magnificent."
Trina Gulliver retained her women's world championship crown by recovering from a set down to beat Francis Hoenselaar of the Netherlands 2-1.
Despite struggling early on, Gulliver found her form when it mattered and wrapped up the title with a 114 checkout.
"It's brilliant to win the title again, once was something but this is really extra special. It was a bit of a struggle but I didn't expect anything else against Francis - she is a very capable player," she said.
RESULTS (seeds in brackets): Round Two: Wednesday January 9: Steve Coote 1 Martin Adams (2) 3, Wayne Jones 3 Ted Hankey (7) 2, Co Stompe 1 Bob Taylor (6) 3; Tony David 3 Marko Pusa (3) 1; Quarter-Finals: Thursday January 10: Colin Monk 5 Wayne Mardle (8) 4, Ray Barneveld (5) 3 Mervyn King (4) 5; Friday January 11: Martin Adams (2) 5 Wayne Jones 1, Bob Taylor (6) 4 Tony David 5; Semi-Finals: Saturday January 12: Colin Monk 1 Mervyn King (4) 5, Martin Adams (2) 4 Tony David 5; Final: Sunday January 13: Mervyn King 4 Tony David 6. Women's Final, Saturday January 12: Trina Gulliver 2 Francis Hoenselaar 1.