May 30

EXCLUSIVE: Devon Petersen reveals new throwing style and talks about darts in South Africa

Fans’ favourite Devon Petersen will make his fourth World Cup of Darts appearance on Friday. Alongside debutant Deon Oliver, South Africa will take on Sweden in the first round.

A few days before the kick-off of the World Cup of Darts I had an interview with ‘The Spartan’ about the nations tournament in Germany. Petersen revealed he changed his entire technique, which will help him to build on a successful future in darts. We also had a conversation about the current state and future of darts in South Africa.

Is the World Cup of Darts just another tournament for you or does it give you a special feeling to represent your country?

It’s a very different event and the honour to represent my country is one I hold very close to my heart. Being the only professional on tour from South Africa makes it a bit more tricky selecting a partner but with the ‘Last Man Standing’ event (South African Qualifier) in Cape Town I’m sure Deon Oliver is capable of making a fantastic debut.

Not a lot of darts fans will know of Deon, can you tell us a bit about him?

Deon Oliver has been playing for over 25 years and has been doing so at a high level in South Africa, having represented his province a few times as well. He is a methodical dart player and always has great composure. He played in the 186-player ‘Last Man Standing’ event with the best in South Africa represented. He was the eventual winner; beating Shaun Hogan in the final, who represented South Africa at the World Cup a few years ago.

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

How did you come up with the idea of organising a qualifier for the World Cup of Darts and what kind of preparation was involved?

It was an event hosted by myself and Bighouse Solutions. We wanted to raise awareness about the sport in SA and the one way to do that is to host the biggest event in Africa. The event was amazing, bringing 186 players and more than 3000 spectators over the weekend. It was planned over 8 weeks and it was well received by the public and darting community. Heart FM partnered us as a media sponsor and Sun West was our venue sponsor. with Opal sports and UNICORN sponsoring the equipment. We had MRL private collection aiding financially and Pixo Prints supplying our event with all advertising and print material for the event. We are improving the darts profile within Africa one dart at a time.

About 40 players entered the Dutch Host Nation Qualifier in 2016, so 186 players for the South African World Cup qualifier sounds huge. Do you think it could tempt the PDC to do an event in South Africa? 

The numbers that turned out for the event are crazy, and we are looking at hosting this event annually. Our plan is to reach out to schools and tertiary institutions to develop the sport there as well. We want to use darts as a catalyst to promote our leadership and motivational program. Many things will happen to Africa and the sport of darts in the next coming years. Hopefully we get big enough with our local tour to get the PDC interested in hosting a World Series event in South Africa.

Are you going to play a role in this? 

Obviously I see the impact the sport of darts has on my life and how it can influence it in a positive way. The negative stereotype that surrounds darts will be eradicated and the sport of darts will play a huge factor in developing the minds of future leaders

Does darts have a negative stereotype in South Africa then?

I think the biggest reason for this is the fact that it’s a leisure activity which involves alcohol hence the sport not being introduced into schools and so on. We are able to show the world that darts has a bigger purpose and higher skill level that will unlock and develop skills that we can use later in life. Our mission is to shine the positive light on the sport we love.

Back to the World Cup of Darts. You are playing Sweden in the first round. How are you looking forward to this draw?

Well this is a tricky draw but the plan is to win the bull and hold throw. As simple as that, it is our #PlanA. I have been practicing well and know that it will come across into my game, and Deon’s game will be very good as well; so we ready for a battle.

Battle of Blackpool I (6)

Your season is maybe not yet what you would have expected of it. Do you think the World Cup could help to turn it around and get some confidence for the rest of the season?

Well my form has dipped a bit which is normal when introducing new things into the game, but I have now settled a bit for the last few events. I’m ready for second half of the season. My practice game is great, now I just want to bring it over to the stage. I already feel as though my game has improved with my new throw so I’m happy. It’s time I show the world my practice game on the main stage. 

I have changed my entire technique from grip to elbow adjustment and point of release. It’s taken me some time to get the hang of it so the worst is over and I can now build on a very successful future in the sport of darts.


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