Dubai: The top eight darts players of the world will visit the emirate for the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters, to be played at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on May 23-24 as the first leg of the Professional Darts Corporation’s World Series of Darts.
Speaking at a press conference, Barry Hearn, Chairman of the PDC and the architect of the phenomenal rise in popularity of this sport in the UK, said: “This will be the greatest sports event ever held in Dubai. Bringing darts to Dubai is a marvellous statement of the worldwide credibility of darts. This event will blow your mind; be prepared to be entertained.” The sport has now become the second most-watched sport on British television behind English Premier League football,
Britain’s Phil “The Power” Taylor, the reigning 16-time world champion, will head the field of players competing in the knockout event, which organisers say will deliver the same drama and razzmatazz of similar spectacles in the UK and Europe.
Taylor, who joined Hearn at the press conference at The Jumeirah Creekside Hotel to announce the launch of the event, said: “I’m very, very excited to be playing in Dubai. It’s my first time here and it’s blown my mind.”
Taylor, a multi-millionaire thanks to what Hearn described as the “evolution of darts from a pub and club sport to a worldwide sport”, will be joined at the event by the man he beat in the world championship final earlier this month, the prodigious young Dutchman Michael van Gerwen.
The other players competing for a top prize of $50,000 (Dh183,659) will be two-time world champion Adrian Lewis, the world number two; seven-time major title winner James Wade; European champion Simon Whitlock; two-time major finalists Andy Hamilton and Wes Newton; and five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, the main sponsors of the forthcoming competition, said: “This is the first time that a professional darts tournament has been staged in Dubai and the first time that darts will be played in an outdoor arena. We think that this sport, which is growing in popularity across the world, will be a good addition to Dubai’s busy sports and social calendar.”