With the Premier League of Darts back on our screens, and events being drop from Olympics, it has raised the debate whether the sport should be in or out.
The Sporting Week’s Billie Marshall has taken a look at this and the success of darts in its immediacy and the future:
The Olympics has always stood for a games fulfilled with passion, athleticism and the honour of representing your country on one of the biggest stages in the world. It is about mastering the art of a certain sport and maintaining a high level throughout competition to ultimately succeed.
Darts may not be seen as a particularly athletic sport, nor an endurance event and is not seen to grasp the stereotype of a modern day Olympian. However, you cannot deny, Darts is a skill in its own right.
They may not possess the same qualities as a 100m runner, or a marathon runner but the skill it requires to be the very best in darts is the same throughout all sports. It takes desire and commitment.
Darting fans would love to see a high jumper, for example, compete against 16 times World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, and not recognise the high level of skill involved with the game.
With the introduction of Golf at the Olympics in Rio, 2016, why is Darts yet to be even considered? It would be a challenge to find an atmosphere quite like a darting event. The world famous ‘Ally Pally’ home of the Darts World Championships provides a setting like no other.
From the trials and tribulations of Michael Van Gerwen nearly hitting the first ever televised double nine-darter, to that classic match of 2007 between Raymond Van Barneveld and Phil Taylor.
It would be foolish to also forget to mention the Premier League of darts. Ten of the world’s best players, competing over a three month period, to decide who the champion is.
With this competition being held all over Britain, it proves how far Darts has come, and how it is now recognised as a successful national sport.
The Betfair World Cup of Darts is yet another example of the sports growing audiences and worldwide attractions. The tournament held in Hamburg, Germany, recently saw nations such as Finland, Japan and Croatia compete with the heavyweight darting countries such as England, the Netherlands and Scotland.
Audiences are growing, and Darts is on the up. At the World cup, 7,000 packed out the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle in Hamburg, for four days of darting competition. The most recognised darting event, the World Championships, recorded record high for attendances this year. Alexandra Palace or ‘Ally Pally’ to most, regularly occupied 6000 people in a three week competition over the Christmas period.
Comparing these attendances to the likes of Football and Rugby is like comparing a Rock to a Pebble, however the smaller enclosed venues create the atmosphere that Darts is so famous for. To the fancy dress competition and the regular sing-alongs, there is no doubt the sound of ‘there’s only one Phil Taylor’ or the Barney Army in full voice will send shivers down your spine.
A 16 time World Champion in Phil Taylor, a Dutch double of high quality in Raymond Van Barneveld and Michael Van Gerwen, and least not forgetting the likes of Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Andy Hamilton and Gary Anderson, the names could continue to flow fluently. However, there is one thing in common with all these. They all deserve to be given the chance on an Olympic stage.
Darts is now a worldwide game, with worldwide interest and growing audiences. It begs to reason why this sport is not yet classed as an Olympic sport, given its magnitude in the modern day sporting era. In an era that focuses on entertainment and success, Darts and the tungsten tide shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.