The country’s best darts players were taking aim as a national tournament got underway in the city Tuesday.
The 2012 Canadian National Adult Darts Championships kicked off Tuesday morning with 176 participants from 11 provinces and territories marching into Delaney Arena.
Each team consists of eight men and eight women and Northern Ontario Darts Association president Christine Stark said the competition is fierce as players compete not only for cash prizes, but the prestige of being crowned the Canadian champ.
“You get teams rallying behind their players as the day goes on and the individuals are eliminated. The darts get better and better,” she said.
Northern Ontario became its own team, separate from the Ontario team in 1995. Stark said they brought their first official team to the nationals in 1996.
So it was rewarding for Stark that Thunder Bay would be the host for this year’s nationals.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of sweat and tears and effort. We are very proud to host the country here in Thunder Bay this week,” she said.
While darts started as a pub sport in England, it has reached the professional level, especially in countries like England and Holland where millions of dollars in sponsorship money is put into the sport, said National Darts Federation of Canada president Bill Hatter.
“You can still play this at a recreational level or at this level where it’s quite serious,” he said. “We’ve probably got 20 to 30 players here who have played internationally. This is the cream of the cream as far as playing darts.”
“You’ll see world-class darts here all week,” he added.
Tuesday is the doubles tournament and Wednesday is the singles. Mixed doubles go on Thursday and Friday is the Nodor Cup and international qualifiers. The championships wrap up Saturday and Sunday with the Canadian Open.
The event is open to the public and there is no admission fee.
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