Most people have a like for a certain sport or two. Some sports figure within a list of popular and well known sports, like basketball, soccer, football, tennis, volleyball, baseball, karate, or boxing. And others are less known and less practiced, like Lima Lama, which, chances are you’ve never even heard of it, but it’s a type of self defense similar to the combination of kickboxing and karate.
But, we are not here to talk about a world-wide practiced sport, like soccer, neither about one that is not as known, like Lima Lama. Let’s say we are going to be talking about a sport that is kind of in the middle of those two concept examples: Darts.
Darts are a sport that maybe you don’t quite recall instantly, but the following image will help with that:
Do you remember seeing one of these round dartboards in movies? Or you could have seen it in person a few years ago. How about the term “bullseye”? Does it sound more familiar now? Well, you’ve probably seen it either in person or in some movies, and you can tell it isn’t such a difficult or complex game to understand. The hard part is actually hitting the bullseye.
Think of archery, and darts could be a mini adapted version of archery using much smaller “arrows”. This sport is very popular throughout Europe, and it has its own Professional Darts Corporation, which is the main professional and formal figure in the sport.
It is in charge of numerous events that are held worldwide and it gives more than 10 million pounds in prizes over a year of international ongoing tournaments. Their very first event was held on October of the year 1992, and they organized the first World Championship in 1994.
How do you play darts?
In order to play the sport you will need a dartboard and darts. The dartboard is a circular marked board that is attached to a wall. The marks show the different areas where you could hit the board, and the respective amount of points you obtain depending on the area you hit. There are two small circles drawn in the exact center of the board, a smaller circle insider another bigger one. The darts are small arrows.
The game basically consists in standing at a certain distance from the dartboard and throwing the dart with the goal of hitting the very smallest circle in the center of the board, called the “inner bullseye”. The farther you actually hit from that bullseye, the fewer points you win.
There are regulations for the sport, such as the dimensions of both the darts and the board; the standing distance which the player must be at from the dartboard, which is established to be 2.37 meters; the weight of the dart (which cannot exceed 50 grams); and the height from the floor at which the dartboard must be fixed to the wall, which demands that the center of the bullseye should be at 5 ft 8 inches from the floor. But there are also some variations for not strictly professional playing purposes.
The European Darts Championship is an event that began in 2008. It is an annual event that takes place in different European countries. Their 2017 location was Germany and their prize fund had the amount of £400,000. The current champion is Michael Van Gerwen, who has been the champion for the last four years in a row.
The competition gathers 32 players in total. There has only been four champions in the ten years of the European Championship so far; Phil Taylor, who won the very first four events, from 2008 to 2011. Then, in 2012 there was a new champion: Simon Whitlock. For the 2013 edition, the champion was Adrien Lewis, and from 2014 to 2017 the champion has remained to be Michael Van Gerwen.
For its 2018 edition, the dates for the European Darts Championship are programmed to be from Thursday, October 25th through Sunday, October 28th; and it will be taking place in Germany, once again, where we will find out if Van Gerwen will keep his title of champion for his fifth year in a row, or if someone else will be receiving that title (and good economic prize) this year.