‘Eddie the Eagle’ helps to inspire Wright to first major

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The story of Michael Edwards — better known as ‘Eddie the Eagle’ — is so famous that it was made into a film last year.

In 1988, Edwards was the butt of many jokes as he bid to become Great Britain’s first competitor at the Winter Olympics in nearly 60 years.

But he defied the doubters and the sceptics by representing his country in Canada, where he finished last in a 79-strong field of ski jumpers.

Nevertheless, that determination and never-say-die attitude has since made him a cult figure, leading the new Coral UK Open champion Peter Wright to draw comparisons between the two men.

After losing eight television finals, the Mendham darting ace finally got his hands on a major title at Minehead on Sunday by beating Gerwyn Price 11-6 in the final.

With so many near misses under his belt, there were those that questioned whether or not Wright would ever get over the finishing line.

But like Edwards, he now feels his persistence and hours upon hours of practice have been vindicated.

“I watched the ‘Eddie the Eagle’ film on a plane travelling between events recently and there are some similarities between us,” the Scot, who turns 47 today, told The Express.

“It inspired me seeing how he kept going after people told him he could not do it.

“I have had people tell me my whole career that I would fall short.

“But I felt I have been on the verge for a little while now and I just needed to find some consistency when it mattered.”

After sealing his maiden triumph via the bullseye, Wright — despite previously vowing to maintain a stiff upper lip — was visibly emotional as he awaited the trophy presentation.

Yet, those tears were not for himself, but more for his family and supporters who have remained by his side.

“It was a combination of everything,” added Snakebite.

“Nobody sees the hard work that goes on behind the scenes with my hair and everything Jo (his wife) does.

“The kids do so much at home for us and my sponsors are great. This win was for everyone that has helped me.”

n Wright went into last night’s Betway Premier League at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow — his match with James ‘the Machine’ Wade his first since winning the Coral UK Open — joint top of the table with Phil ‘The Power Taylor’.

For a match report as well as more from Wright, log on to www.dissexpress.co.uk/sport