TUSOK BALITA ONLINE - A Publication of the National Darts Federation of the Philippines

A Look Back to the 2014 International Darts Arena

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Year 2014 saw the significant reduction in the cash prizes won by Pinoy darters in international dart tournaments.  Historically in 2013, our darters won five (5) of the eight (8) stages of Dartslive, and Lourence Ilagan won the Grand Finals championship over compatriot Christian Perez.  The cash prize won by all Pinoy players from Dartslive alone totaled over P10M.  Aside from Dartslive, Phoenix Darts also offered big prizes taken advantage by the lot of Pinoy darters.

Product endorsement offers from Japanese dart manufacturers and distributors came in droves as a lot of our players outshone their Asian counterparts. The cheap fares to Asian destinations, especially Hongkong, fueled the participation of more Pinoy darters.

However in 2014, policy changes introduced by soft tip manufacturers adversely limited the participation of Filipino darters in the lucrative soft tip market. Dartslive imposed a participation fee of USD 500.00 for Filipino players to play in the Dartslive stages and rearranged the stages to countries where our darters had a hard time securing a visa such as France (where Ilagan was denied a visa), Las Vegas, Tokyo, and Shanghai. At the same time Phoenix Darts, another soft tip manufacturer, also favored players from countries with Phoenix dart machines.

Despite the challenges, our darters won in soft tip tournaments not organized by soft tip manufacturers, including the Phoenix-Asian Darts Association (ADA) in Hongkong, the International Darts Federation Cup in Shanghai, and at the MSDO Championship in Selangor, Malaysia.

Malaysia became the destination of Filipino darters in 2014 for dart competitions especially for steel tip tournaments compared to previous years where Hongkong was the haven of the soft tip tournaments.  Pinoy darters adjusted to Malaysian darts that offer more cash to the Team event over the Singles event.  True to form, Pinoy darters dominated the dart circuit both in the Team and Singles competition.  It is unfortunate that despite the Singles won by Boy Gionzon in the World Darts Federation (WDF)-ranked Malaysian and Hongkong Open, he did not earn any WDF ranking points.

The defining moment of the international dart participation for 2014 was winning the South Asian Qualifier to the PDC World Darts Championship (WDC).  Christian Perez, by winning the Asian Qualifier, redeemed the participation of the Philippines to the World Darts Championship after the PDC eliminated the Philippine Qualifier from the WDC. Unfortunately, Perez was not lucky with the drawing of players among the wild card qualifiers and drew Cristo Reyes, an excellent player from Spain who went all way to the top 16.  Perez lost in the qualifiers round.

2014 may have not been the best of times for our players in the international dart arena, but in these trying times, a ray of hope shines with the increase of managers and sponsors to Filipino players in international dart competitions, both coming from foreign and Filipino supporters.

***This is the first of a series of articles that reviews and provides insights on the victories, achievements, and erstwhile shortfalls in darts, locally and across the Philippines.