Testing skills on the green

Champion takes a break at Araluen
Champion takes a break at Araluen

He was one of 16 professional dart players from across the world that arrived in WA last week for the inaugural Perth Darts Masters at Challenge Stadium in Mt Claremont.

The players took time out before the competition to experience the sights of WA.

Araluen Golf Resort was the location of choice for Van Barneveld along with chief executive of the Professional Darts Corporation Matthew Porter, PDC media manager David Allen and former number one darts player Rod Harrington.

While Van Barneveld’s golf shots were not quite as sharp as his dart throwing, he still enjoyed relaxing at Araluen before the competition got serious.

‘Darts is very big in Europe, it’s played in sporting venues,’ he said.

‘If you play in the premier league, between 4000 to 10,000 people come to watch.’

Van Barneveld started playing darts at the age of 17.

‘My uncle hung up a darts board and said let’s have a go,’ he said.

‘I started practising and played for local teams. In 1998 I was world champion.’

The professional world of darts has projected Van Barneveld to celebrity status in Europe.

Since the former postman turned professional in 1998, he has gone on to claim five world champion titles and two UK open champion titles.

He has a won the International Darts League three times, the Las Vegas Desert Classic, the Grand Slam of Darts, the World Masters and the World Darts Trophy. In 2008, he was ranked number one in the world.

This year he won the Premier League Darts competition, which features 10 of the world’s top players, competing at different venues across the UK and Ireland from February to May.

The win earned him £150,000 (about $265,000) in prize money.

The Perth Darts Masters was the second of three tournaments, which make up the 2014 World Series of Darts competition.

The final tournament will be held from August 28-30 at Sydney Darts Masters Hordern Pavilion.