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Will Clark – It just would not be the new year without the darts


By Will Clark

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You can’t see in the festive season and new year without watching the World Darts Championship.

Will Clark thinks darts is the best sport in the world.
Will Clark thinks darts is the best sport in the world.

For me, it is part and parcel of the festive season and just as important as not burning the turkey dinner, drinking my annual glass of wine and watching Home Alone 1 as well Home Alone 2 Lost in New York, which is the better film.

I love darts, I think it is the greatest sport in the world, even more than football. I played a bit myself during my younger years, as did my family who all played for the Fjord Lounge in the Huntly and District Darts League way back in the day.

I remember back in the late 80’s and early 90 watching the BDO World Darts Championship at the Lakeside when the sport had its first golden era. Jocky Wilson, Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Cliff Lazarenko, all household names which transformed the sport.

Then the split happened in the 1990’s when the Professional Darts Corporation was formed and became the dominant organisation in the 2000’s.

It lead to darts’s second golden generation with the likes of Phil Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld becoming box office attractions and darts tournaments taking place in massive arenas. During a period in the 1990’s when very few darts tournaments were televised, Sky Sports and ITV now screen live events on a regular basis due to the popularity of the sport.

And darts is a sport, there is nothing I get more heated about in conversations when people describe darts as a game or a pastime but refuse to acknowledge it as a sport.

The skill and accuracy required to land a spear of tungsten into a target is one which takes time to master.

Just as much time as someone competing in archery, where there is little argument that is a sport or someone throwing a javelin.

Does darts suffer from an image problem of the players not all being athletically toned and back in the 1980’s being able to drink beer and smoke cigarettes?

They perhaps need to watch a game nowadays and see what actually happens during a match on stage.

Yes, some players aren’t a bronze adonis, apart from Steve Beaton.

But sportsmen and women come in all shape and sizes and its not about what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that gets results.

Other sports suffer from the same argument, Formula One for example, does driving a car qualify as a sport?

Some people argue equestrian, and in particular dressage isn’t a sport.

You get a horse to dance to Livin la vida loca by Ricky Martin. One of the most impressive things I have ever seen.

Snooker suffers from the same image problem as darts due to its association of being played in the pub.

But those arguments fall on deaf ears to me, in terms of excitement and spectacle, darts is the greatest sport in the world.

Not only that, but it is breaking the gender barrier as well, with women starting to compete alongside the men.

Fallon Sherrock has been a revelation regularly beating top male players, although did suffer a first round exit at this year’s world championships.

You might as well cancel Christmas if the darts wasn’t on during the festive season. Hopefully one day, it will be recognised for what it is and be part of the Olympic Games.


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