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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 11:59 GMT
Golden girl Gulliver
World Champion Trina Gulliver celebrates victory in 2003
Gulliver reacquaints herself with the world trophy in 2003
Trina Gulliver returns to the Lakeside defending one of the proudest records in the world of darts.

The world number one has never lost a match at Frimley Green and is presently at the peak of her powers.

In the last year she has become the first winner of the British Darts Organisation's Grand Slam.

The Englishwoman's historic hat-trick of titles in 2003 make the player they call the Golden Girl the woman to beat once again.

"I am over the moon with my form in 2003," she said.

"I've had a couple of close calls because the standards in women's darts is now so high, but all-in-all I have to be happy with the way I have played."

Last year Gulliver did not drop a set on the run to victory as second seed, beating Anne Kirk in the final.

It was the third successive year that she had been hailed as the world's best on the sport's greatest stage, a far cry from her days as a carpenter and joiner.

The Lakeside win was just the start of her most successful year to date, her fourth as a professional.

Nine months later she landed the second leg of her triple crown with the World Darts Trophy.

Having lost the first set of the final to Francis Hoenselaar, she battled back winning each of the next three sets 3-2 for the victory.

And then in November she made history in grandstand style.

AKA: Golden Girl
Seeded: One
Nationality: English
Born: 30 November 1969
Lakeside best:
Champion 2001, 2002 & 2003
At 3-3 with Crissy Howat, and her opponent down to a finish, Gulliver showed her match-winning mettle with a 101 check-out for the Winmau title, the third major televised event of the year.

The 34-year-old capped a wonderful year by taking national honours in her first World Cup as England captain, winning the singles and doubling up with Clare Bywaters to land the pairs.

She stopped short of doing an Annika Sorenstam, the Swedish golfer who crossed the gender divide earlier in the season, but those achievements have helped her overshadow two of the men's game's biggest names.

Raymond van Barneveld, the men's number one seed and defending champion at the Lakeside, missed out on matching Gulliver's Grand Slam feat after an equally tense final.

And she completed the year by putting Phil 'The Power' Taylor in the shade, a rare feat in the world of darts.

The pair were both nominated for the BBC Midlands Sports Personality of the Year, but while Taylor trailed in among the also rans, Gulliver took top honours.

"After such a fantastic year of darts this was the icing on the cake," Gulliver said after taking the plaudits.

"I couldn't believe it when my name came out and I feel very proud," she added.

A New Year means new challenges, starting at the Lakeside.

Gulliver has set herself high standards and will be sure to make a resolute defence of her title and the Grand Slam.





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