|The first edition of the IDF Darts World Cup was successfully held in Shanghai, China, during the first week of December 2010. The tournament was a soft tip darts tournament using 65 IDF Certified 15 darts boards supplied by Cyberdine of Croatia. Players attended from over 20 countries, the main competition being a team event, with a minimum of 4 players per team, with at least one player of each gender. The tournament was not very large in terms of the number of players, as it was by invitation only, with only one team being invited per country, but it was a very high level event in terms of the skill of the players.
The score sheet for the team event included 6 games of 501 DI/DO, 6 games of Cricket and a final tiebreaker game of 701. This format, although generally used in the North American continent, was not familiar to most of the players, but it became quickly understood by all. An important aspect of this tournament was that it included some players more accustomed to playing steel tip darts and also soft tip players who normally play on the smaller 13 target. In this respect it was satisfying to see that the players from the three different disciplines of darts were able to enjoy playing against each other: the conclusion seems to be Darts is Darts, regardless of the type or size of the board.
The event was played over three days, with the mornings of the first two days being devoted to singles competitions of 501 DI/DO and Cricket, with separate events for men and women. The team event started on the afternoon of the first day with a Round Robin phase, in which the teams were divided into four groups of teams, through a draw, in order to classify the best two teams from each group to go forward into an 8 position double elimination chart. It was interesting to observe that only two European teams, from Spain and the Czech Republic, managed to classify for the second round, in spite of the fact that the European players of both genders achieved a high proportion of the top places in the singles events. Once again this event showed that this format for the team event is more than just a compilation of singles matches, which is relevant to one of the aims of the IDF, which is to promote team building in the sport of darts. The first two rounds of the double elimination chart were played on the afternoon of the second day, leaving the final four teams for the last day. In general the matches were very close, going to the tiebreaker in many cases.
The final of the team event, between the team from the Thailand, which had reached the final undefeated, and the team from China Hong Kong that was the winner of the losers bracket, was very formal as it was televised in its entirety for CCTV Channel 5, the national sports channel in China. It was also very close, with the Cup finally and unexpectedly going to China Hong Kong, who came from behind and won the tiebreaker.
Overall the level of sportsmanship was very high and this tournament was more formal than darts events normally seen in other countries. The Chinese hosts excelled themselves by putting on both an impressive opening and closing ceremony which will be remembered by the players for many years. The spirit of the whole tournament organization was to respect the format of the Olympic Games, since one of the declared objectives of the IDF is to achieve Olympic recognition for the sport of darts. In this respect the Chinese hosts did an excellent job.
Darts is a sport that is not yet very well known in China, but it is a sport that can appeal to a very large range of players: it is one of the few sports in which the physical attributes of the players are not as important as their level of concentration, determination and skill. It is also a sport that does not require a large amount of space and which can be played by players of both genders and all ages. History has been made, as the organization of this first edition of the IDF Darts World Cup in Shanghai, with its high level of favourable media attention, contributes a first step towards introducing the sport of darts throughout China and starting a movement that will surely be very popular. The fist successful step is the most important one.