Darts is a sport!

I had someone the other day ask me, “is darts a sport”? My first reaction (internally) was “seriously, this old question?” Then I jumped down off my high horse and explained my answer in detail. By the end, I think they wished they had never asked the question in the first place.

Here’s my view. The dictionary defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”.

Hmm, “physical exertion”.

Given I am like nearly every kiwi around the country and have spent many weeks in lockdown, I’ve had some time to work it out. Presume a normal darts game is 501, straight start, double finish. An “average” player scores 60 points a throw (with 80+ getting towards pro. status, 40 or less = needs work). The oche is 2.37m from the board, so waiting behind the opponent means approx. 6 meters walked there and back. Out of a best of eleven match (11 legs) you will walk over half a kilometre per match! So when I get puffed walking to the letterbox and back, a half km walk sounds like “physical exertion” to me!

“Skill”. Well you try and throw three darts into an area that is just 0.3% of the entire scoring area of the dart board, then tell me if it’s skill or not!

“An individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. Sounds like darts to me.

So why take my view?

Darts has two mainstream professional darts organizations, the British Darts Organization (BDO) and the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). For amateur organizations, the American Darts Organization (ADO) is the main one. This in itself suggests darts has all the hallmarks of a sport.

In March 2005, Sport England officially recognised darts as a sport allowing it to receive grants and public funding.

So why isn’t darts in the Olympics or at least the Commonwealth Games?

The main reason is that darts worldwide is governed by the official sport body, the World Darts Federation (WDF) who’s main associate member organisation is the BDO (British Darts Organisation). But most of the world’s top professionals play in the PDC who broke away in the early 1990’s. So, until those two can agree, we’ll not see darts at the Olympics any time soon.

So, whilst darts is a hobby, a passion and sometimes pain in the butt, it’s still a sport that I love and play.

All the best, be safe and straight arrows everyone.

Paul Webber

Owner – Bullseye Darts

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