4 reasons why India should take up darts

Isaac Marshall

#3 Lack of competitors at the global stage

Mumbai's Prakash Jiwa was India's first top-class darts player.
Mumbai's Prakash Jiwa was India's first top-class darts player.

In terms of which Indian darts players are most likely to break through, it's not looking as pretty as it could right now, especially considering the huge population.

Prakash Jiwa was India's first real darting pioneer, but the issue of lack of matches in India saw him move to the UK to get his game sharper in view of winning and keeping a professional tour card, which means you can play year-round on the professional circuit for two years. He has achieved this on two occasions, earning time as a professional from 2015-2017 and again in 2017-2019.

He has taken part in the UK Open many times and notable results in the Player's Championship non-televised events include a narrow loss to current world no.1 Michael van Gerwen and a 6-4 win over five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, but he never broke the World's Top 64, which is required to keep a professional tour card after two years.

However, it is Nitin Kumar who is currently the undisputed number one in India's darts roster right now. Unfortunately, there are so few darts opportunities in India that Nitin has relocated to Dubai to take part in more top-class darts tournaments. For the last two years, the PDC has set aside a spot in the 96-man World Championships for an Indian qualifier, which Nitin has won both years so far.

The first year he drew upcoming Dutch prospect Jeffrey de Zwaan, going down 3-0 in sets but managed to pick up a few legs along the way. Nitin averaged a poor 77.75 compared to de Zwaan's 91.18, which is around standard for the earlier rounds in the competition.

Nitin will be very pleased with his performance at the 2020 World Championships, as, despite his 3-0 loss to Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan, he managed to average 90.17 compared to Dolan's 97.35, which was a superb performance from the Northern Ireland veteran. Kumar managed to get four legs along the way and didn't allow Dolan to win any of the three sets 3-0 despite Dolan's ruthless finishing on doubles.

Kumar can do better, however, and is capable of bringing a mid-90s average to big games. He is not currently an owner of one of the 128 professional tour cards, with Kumar having been unsuccessful in his only attempt at Qualification School in 2019, where he failed to break the last 256, which is well short of the last two games required to gain an automatic card and also earns no Q-School Order of Merit points which can also get a player through the mega event.

Amit Gilitwala is a young star from Gujarat. He is a previous winner of the India National Championships and most notably represented India, with Prakash Jiwa, at the 2014 PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) World Cup of Darts.

It wasn't a wonderful performance from the duo, as they went down to Belgium, who had an average 3-dart-score of 91.65 to India's 69.96. Since then, Gilitwala has played on the PDC's youth tour and their second-tier semi-professional tour. Despite most of his biggest achievement coming a while ago, he is only 24 as of 2020, so has years left to improve.

The only other Indian darts player of international note is Ashfaque Sayed, who partnered Nitin Kumar at the 2015 PDC World Cup of Darts, but they were battered 5-0 by Germany in the first round, managing an average of only 67.73 against the hosts, who put in an 81.68 average. Sayed had been active in darts since 2005, but after the 2015 World Cup hasn't really participated in any tournaments of note.

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Edited by Prasen Moudgal
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