KYLE McKinstry has revealed his “personal torture” during lockdown that has left him battling to save his promising career.
The Northern Irishman has been suspended from Darts Regulation Authority events after suspicious betting activity during online matches in the Modus Live League in late April.
Talented McKinstry, 33, broke down in tears during his first interview since admitting his part in the match-fixing incidents.
He told me:
“It’s definitely been the worst few months of my life. I’ve been in a really bad place since the coronavirus pandemic started and then lockdown.
“I lost my darts income and then lost my engineering job in the space of a few weeks”.
“I was left completely desperate and without any money.”
“I’m not alone in this situation, I know that. I know that lockdown has hit so many families and so many people have lost their jobs.
“But for me I was going through personal torture. I’ve always been a hard worker and never been without a job.
“On the day I lost my engineering job I was totally devastated. That’s the day I let myself down with the online darts.
“I’m not going to go into the details. I’m too ashamed of what I’ve done. I’ve let down my family, my management, the fans and the sport.
“It was a moment of weakness. I’ve got a partner and two young children. I had no money whatsoever and I was desperate. I’m only a human being, I made a mistake.
“I’m still in a really bad way. I’ve lost everything right now. I need to try and rebuild my life for my children above all else.”
McKinstry is one of the most likeable and popular players in the sport. It is quite harrowing to hear his pain.
He reached the Quarter-Finals of the 2019 BDO World Championship and has featured on the PDC Challenge Tour.
He finished seventh on the 2019 Challenge Tour Order of Merit, qualifying for the 2020 UK Open, in which he reached the Last 16.
Now he awaits the DRA verdict on the punishment for his actions. He added:
“I will accept my punishment, I’ve done wrong. It will never happen again. I’ve been punished already by my own shame every single day.
“I want to save my career and fight back from this and prove to everyone in a positive way how you can respond to doing wrong in the right way.
“I’ve been given amazing support by Alan Warriner at the PDPA and by the DRA.
I hope everyone understands this was totally out of character and an act of real desperation.
“That doesn’t make it right I know. But I hope I can be given a second chance to prove my integrity in the sport I love and rebuild my life.”