World Darts Championship - The Draw Is Made
Adrian Lewis will open the defence of his Ladbrokes World Darts Championship against debutant Gino Vos and Phil Taylor will meet Michael Mansell as the pair begin their battle for the new Sid Waddell Trophy at Alexandra Palace.
The draw for the £1 million event was made on Tuesday alongside the unveiling of the specially-commissioned new World Championship trophy, named in memory of the late Sky Sports commentator Sid Waddell.
Lewis has drawn young Dutch debutant Gino Vos as he begins his challenge to win a third successive World Championship. Lewis has defeated Gary Anderson and Andy Hamilton in the final in the past two years, and has set his sights on retaining the title on New Year's Day.
"I'm really excited", said Lewis, who became a father for the second time on Saturday morning to a boy, Matthew. "It's been a great honour to be World Champion for the past two years and it hardly seems like a year since I was lifting the trophy at Alexandra Palace. Gino's a really good young player so it will be a tough game at start the tournament, but I'm feeling great. My form's improving and now that Matthew's been born it's a weight off my shoulders, and I can focus on preparing for the World Championship now."
15-time World Champion Taylor, meanwhile, faces Northern Ireland's left-hander Michael Mansell in the first round as he bids to win his first Alexandra Palace title since 2010. Taylor, who was knocked out by Dave Chisnall in the second round 12 months ago, believes that winning the Cash Converters Players Championship last weekend was ideal preparation.
"Winning the Players Championship Finals was brilliant because you can't get anything better than winning tournaments," said Taylor, 52. "I'm pleased with how my form's building and I've put a lot of work in so far but I'll be putting in plenty of practice in the next week or so to make sure I'm ready. Michael's a really tough opponent, he's a solid player and he's dangerous. It would be a massive achievement to win the World Championship again but this year would be extra special if I was the first player to win the Sid Waddell Trophy. We all miss Sid and this is a brilliant tribute to him to have the new trophy named in his memory."
Number three seed James Wade has drawn debutant Peter Hudson for their first round clash, while 2011 runner-up Anderson meets the winner of the preliminary round game between Finnish qualifiers Jarkko Komula and Jani Haavisto.
European Champion Simon Whitlock, the Australian who lost in the 2010 World Championship final to Taylor, will meet either Japan's Haruki Muramatsu or New Zealand number one Dave Harrington.
Number six seed Wes Newton is up against Swindon-based debutant Johnny Haines, while in-form Michael van Gerwen, the World Grand Prix winner in October, will meet either veteran star Paul Lim or Malaysia's Mohd Latif Sapup.
Last year's finalist, Hamilton, has been drawn with Northamptonshire's James Richardson, who caused a sensation by knocking out Raymond van Barneveld on his World Championship debut.
Five-time World Champion Van Barneveld will meet St Helens youngster Michael Smith, number nine seed Terry Jenkins plays Steve Brown and Mark Webster - twice a semi-finalist - draw Stoke's emerging Ian White.
Justin Pipe plays Andy Jenkins, Dave Chisnall will face top Australian Shane Tichowitsch.
Veteran two-time World Champion Dennis Priestley, 62, has drawn Ronnie Baxter, while former semi-finalist Mervyn King also picked up a plum tie against debutant Dean Winstanley, the former Lakeside Championship finalist who has impressed in his first year on the PDC circuit.
World Youth Champion James Hubbard will make his debut in the tournament against Richie Burnett, three-time World Champion John Part meets Joe Cullen, Colin Lloyd faces the American number on Darin Young and Kim Huybrechts, the Belgian who was the runner-up in last weekend's Cash Converters Players Championship, plays Scott Rand.
Meanwhile, from the 2013 World Darts Championship, the tournament's trophy has been renamed The Sid Waddell Trophy, with a new trophy having been commissioned for the event and unveiled by Taylor and Lewis, along with Sid's son Dan Waddell, on Tuesday.
Sid Waddell, the legendary Sky Sports commentator, passed away in August 2012 and The Sid Waddell Trophy will keep alive his memory as well as recognising his contribution to darts for over 30 years. The trophy has been designed and created by Sussex-based jeweller Mike Shorer, who also created the most recent Ladbrokes World Darts Championship Trophy as well as the McCoy's Premier League Darts trophy.
The trophy features six silver rods rising from a base made from Red Eritrean Marble and Black Granite, reaching up to an engraved silver globe which has a 20 carat cabochon garnet to symbolise the bullseye on a dartboard. The base, made from the same rare Eritrean marble as used by Michaelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, also features a plaque bearing Sid Waddell's signature. The trophy stands at around 28 inches tall and weighs 25kg and will be presented to the 2013 World Champion by Sid Waddell's son Dan on New Year's Day.
The World Darts Championship will be held from December 14-January 1 at Alexandra Palace. For tickets, visit www.seetickets.com/darts or call 0844 871 8807.
The tournament will be screened live on Sky Sports HD, with the semi-finals and final also broadcast in 3D.
World Darts Championship
Andree Welge (Germany) v Leung Chun Nam (China)
Haruki Muramatsu (Japan) v Dave Harrington (New Zealand)
Daryl Gurney (Northern Ireland) v Robert Marijanovic (Croatia)
Max Hopp (Germany) v Charl Pietersen (South Africa)
Lourence Ilagan (Philippines) v Jamie Lewis (Wales)
Carlos Rodriguez (Spain) v John Bowles (England)
Paul Lim (Singapore) v Mohd Latif Sapup (Malaysia)
Jarkko Komula (Finland) v Jani Haavisto (Finland)
First Round Draw Bracket
Phil Taylor (England) 1 v Michael Mansell (Northern Ireland)
Wayne Jones (England) 32 v Jerry Hendriks (Netherlands)
Paul Nicholson (Australia) 16 v Co Stompe (Netherlands)
Robert Thornton (Scotland) 17 v Magnus Caris (Sweden)
Andy Hamilton (England) 8 v James Richardson (England)
Richie Burnett (Wales) 25 v James Hubbard (England)
Terry Jenkins (England) 9 v Steve Brown (England)
John Part (Canada) 24 v Joe Cullen (England)
Simon Whitlock (Australia) 5 v Muramatsu/Harrington
Colin Osborne (England) 28 v Ilagan/Lewis
Dave Chisnall (England) 12 v Shane Tichowitsch (Australia)
Andy Smith (England) 21 v Gurney/Marijanovic
Gary Anderson (Scotland) 4 v Komula/Haavisto
Jamie Caven (England) 29 v Rodriguez/Bowles
Raymond van Barneveld (Netherlands) 13 v Michael Smith (England)
Brendan Dolan (Northern Ireland) 20 v Mark Jones (England)
Adrian Lewis (England) 2 v Gino Vos (Netherlands)
Denis Ovens (England) 31 v Hopp/Pietersen
Kevin Painter (England) 15 v Welge/Chun Nam
Ronnie Baxter (England) 18 v Dennis Priestley (England)
Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands) 7 v Lim/Latif Sapup
Peter Wright (Scotland) 26 v Arron Monk (England)
Mark Webster (Wales) 10 v Ian White (England)
Colin Lloyd (England) 23 v Darin Young (USA)
Wes Newton (England) 6 v Johnny Haines (England)
Kim Huybrechts (Belgium) 27 v Scott Rand (England)
Justin Pipe (England) 11 v Andy Jenkins (England)
Mark Walsh (England) 22 v Darren Webster (England)
James Wade (England) 3 v Peter Hudson (England)
Steve Beaton (England) 30 v Kyle Anderson (Australia)
Mervyn King (England) 14 v Dean Winstanley (England)
Vincent van der Voort (Netherlands) 19 v Stuart Kellett (England)
The schedule of play is expected to be announced on Wednesday.