There is less than a week before Ben Robb will step onto the biggest stage of his professional darts career, the world championships in London.
The Cantabrian said farewell today as he flew out to the British capital, after qualifying earlier this month defeating Mark Cleaver in the final of the DPNZ Top 16 qualifier. He also defeated Paul Harper 4-0, Alex Wade 4-0 and Brett Walters 4-2 on the way to confirming his entry in the world championships.
Robb told Te Ao it has finally kicked in that he is actually off to the world championships.
"This is when it really felt like I'm actually going to England and I'm feeling a bit nervous but feeling confident," he says.
Robb says the competition is a chance to live his dreams and an opportunity to provide himself with some financial support for future events.
He is targetting winning three games, which would be life-changing and a sign he is on the right path.
"Success is probably like three games deep, $50k to win three games that would set me up for a year to keep pushing the dream," he says.
"Then I know if I can make three games, I can actually go on to win it because the standard to get to that three is world-class.
"If I can get there then I know I'm going on the right path to how I want to achieve my goals in the game."
Robb has come a long way from the days when he used to watch darts on the couch with his father.
"I just wanted to play local pub rounds and it just got bigger and bigger.
"It's funny because of my old man, I went home for Christmas once and I was like, 'why are you watching darts on TV?'
He said, 'because it's a lot of fun.' "And then we watched it and got the bug and that was like four years ago."
Robb says the opportunity to compete at the world championships is invaluable and that he is confident he can get a top result.
"The more experience I can get on stage the better because I really want to make a career out of it. So the more I'm up there the more I'm showing that I can perform up there, then sponsors come with that and more opportunities.
"I believe I can win it. I've just got to push it hard. So I'm keen, I feel good."
While he will have plenty of support back home in Aotearoa, Robb’s chances of winning are not looking too flash with the bookmakers. He is currently at 2500 to 1 to become world champion. However, simply making it to the highest level is an achievement worthy of commendation on its own.
The world championships are being held at the iconic Alexandra Palace in London, with 28 countries being represented.
Dutchman and current world champion Michael van Gerwen is hot favourite to take out the title again this year. He has enjoyed another stellar year on the circuit, winning titles at the Masters, Premier League, World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals, as well as a first Champions League of Darts title.
The world darts championships begin on December 13 and run until New Year's Day.
This article has been updated to include our interview with Ben Robb.