World youth darts champion Tayla Carolissen, 17, a Grade 12 pupil at Wittebome High School, and South African youth runner-up Daywin Adams, 15, a Grade 10 pupil at Grassy Park High, have linked up with the Peninsula Darts Association (PDA) to get the sport up and running at schools.
Development officer for the PDA, Maurice Jacobs, has spearheaded the initiative for a primary school darts league, which he intends to start in March, next year.
In the meantime, Jacobs has had training sessions with children from Levana and Ottery Road Methodist primary schools to teach them the fundamentals of darts.
Last weekend, Carolissen and Adams were at a training session, at the Rooikraans sports complex, to share their experience in the sport and to encourage the youngsters to follow their passion.
“To make it in darts is the same as in any other sport, you need to be discipline and take in as much as you can,” said Carolissen.
“If someone is trying to teach you something about the game, hear them out. Always respect your opponent and just enjoy the game,” she said.
Carolissen won the World Darts Federation (WDF) World Cup of Darts, last year, and placed first at the national championships in Bloemfontein, earlier this year.
“I won the youth girls singles at the national champs and was chosen to represent South Africa at the Zone 6 African tournament in Lesotho, next year,” said Carolissen.
“Despite what I’ve achieved in the sport, I still feel the same nerves when I go into a competition. I show every opponent the same respect because any one of them can beat me at any time.
“I’ve been to the world cup twice – my first one was in Canada three years ago,” she said.
For Adams, he placed second at the national champs and now prepares to make his debut on the world stage in Japan, next year. The youngster from Grassy Park met Carolissen through the darts, and said she prepared him for the challenges at the nationals.
“I made the Western Cape reserve youth team in 2014 and got my colours this year to compete at nationals,” said Adams.
“The top two players are chosen to represent SA at the world cup and I can’t wait to test my skills at that level of the game.
“Tayla helped me to get ready for the nationals and we’ll work together again as I prepare for Japan. We put in a lot of hours and her father and brother also helped to sharpen my game,” he said.
Adams, who plays for Spikes Darts Club, said he first picked up a dart at the age of three and that the sport came naturally to him because his father, David, played the game.
The PDA is one of several darts associations in the city, and has 17 clubs affiliated to them. Jacobs said there isn’t enough youth players coming through the club ranks, which is why they were starting a school’s league.
“Levana and Ottery Road are the first two schools in the programme. Our intention is to teach them the necessary darts skills as well as life skills,” said Jacobs.
“We are also looking to equip these children with the skills to help us run the league. And, in the new year we’ll invite more schools to the programme before we start the league. The league will be structured with a point system which we are looking to run on a Saturday. And, we’ll have an award ceremony at the end of the year as well,” he said.