Professional Darts Developer hopes to change the sport’s image

Professional Darts Developer’s (PDD) dreams of growing the sport received a shot in the arm as the Youth and Sports Ministry has promised to recognise it as a sport.

PDD owners C. Pathmanathan (main image left) and K. Saegaran (right) said PDD aimed to promote professionalism in the sport, similar to how Professional Darts Corporation (PDA) modernised the game.

PDA, established in 1992 as a breakaway organisation from the British Darts Organisation (BDO), organises the World Darts Championship.

Helping PDD’s cause to change the game’s image is Mohd Nasir Jantan, who claimed a brace of titles in Singapore last week, becoming the first Malaysian to triumph on the PDC Asian Tour.

“Nasir’s performance in Singapore proves that Malaysian players can do well in darts,” said Pathmanathan, ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Masters.

“Many may not realise this, but darts is no longer played only in bars or pubs.

“About 80-85 per cent of our players are Muslims, most of whom are from the government sector. Darts is a popular game among the government servants.”

Pathmanathan said PDD spoke to Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh two months ago about recognising darts as a sport to help it shed its image of a parlour game played in smoky pubs or bars.

“She agreed to recognise darts as a sport. That is the first step,” said Pathmanathan.

“Next, we need to formulate a plan to present to the ministry to see how it can help us.”

Pathmanathan said the ministry’s endorsement would make it easier for PDD to approach sponsors.

“We must move away from the old image that darts is a game played in pubs with alcohol sponsors,” said Pathmanathan.

“We need to be more professional as we want our players to earn a good living from the sport.

“Moreover, the majority of players are Muslims. We have to respect their beliefs.”

Pathmanathan and Saegaran are the Malaysian Darts Association (MDA) secretary and assistant secretary respectively.

Meanwhile, Pathmanathan said four titles are up for grabs in this weekend’s Malaysian Masters at Maju Junction Mall – men’s and women’s singles and doubles titles.

“We also have ongoing inter-state challenges. The top four winners from each state will compete in December’s Piala Malaysia (Malaysia Cup),” said Pathmanathan.

“We will also invite darters from Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and India to add an international flavour.”

He said PDD would organise more events next year, as the goal is to compete in the Asian Cup.

“We need more tournaments to give the players more competition as we want to send a team to next year’s Asian Cup,” said Pathmanathan.

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