In the bull’s-eye

John Browne
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St. John’s in the spotlight for world-class event

Dozens of people, representing almost 30 countries, are firing darts against one another this week in St. John’s, but it’s all in fun. Well, sort of.

Turkish dart player Gingi Camao celebrates winning a game Wednesday over Denmark during the 2013 World Darts Federation World Cup being held at the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

The 2013 World Darts Federation World Cup is being played at the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre and while the participants will undoubtably have a good time, they are very serious about their game which, in some of their countries, is hugely popular and a very lucrative sport.

The tournament, which has been held biennially since 1977, includes competition in men’s and women’s singles and team play as well as boys’ and girls’ youth events, started Tuesday and runs until Saturday.

“So far, so good,” said Bob Gulliver, the co-chairperson of the organizing committee Wednesday.

“Everything seems to be on time, on schedule. The players seem to be satisfied with everything including the facility and transportation.”

Gulliver said some players would like to get to the venue a little earlier, but there’s a bus scheduled to pick up the teams at specific times and places in St. John’s and take them to the PowerPlex.

He said the fans seem to be enjoying themselves as well and he’s noticed some of them going around with the official program and looking for autographs from the world-class players.

Getting to play host to the tournament was the culmination of a six-year quest by the local organizing committee, Destination

St. John’s, St. John’s City Council and provincial government officials along with financial help from a number or corporate sponsors.

“We put in our bid six years ago in the Netherlands,” explained Gulliver, “and we won the right two years later following a vote in Charlotte, N.C.”

Canada’s bid was one of three on the agenda, with Sweden deferring until 2015 and Turkey withdrawing following the Canadian bid. Thirty-six countries were represented at the meeting which Gulliver attended.

This is the third major darts tournament held in the province this year. Earlier this summer, the capital city played host to the Canadian national adult championships and the Canadian Open at the Crosbie Road facility.

Gulliver said there are between 8,500 and 10,000 registered darts players in the province and at least that many recreational players as well.

He said his sport noticed an increase in registration in the 10-19 years age group even before the tournament in St. John’s this summer.

“I think this tournament will only help the game’s profile in this province,” he said.

Right now, the focus is on the World Cup.

“We had a great official opening ceremony last (Tuesday) night and when the Canadian team walked out they got a standing ovation which was pretty heat warming,” said Gulliver, who joked that he was keeping his fingers crossed until it’s all over Saturday.

For statistical information on the tournament go to

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre, Canadian Open

Geographic location: Netherlands, Charlotte, N.C., Canada Sweden Turkey Crosbie Road

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