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Devon Petersen outlines his ambition for the development of darts in Africa |  Darts News

Petersen became the first African player in PDC history to win a German Darts Championship ranking title in September 2020; the 34-year-old is now setting up his own academy with the aim of helping the growth of darts in Africa

Last updated: 22/02/21 22:04 pm

Devon Petersen beat Jonny Clayton to win his first PDC title on European tour last year

Devon Petersen is one of the main pioneers of darts. The South African has been instrumental in the growth of the sport in his home country, but it’s a responsibility he appreciates.

“The African warrior” is aptly named. He has spearheaded the growth of African darts since making his debut at the PDC World Championships ten years ago, although it has been the last 18 months where he has enjoyed his major breakthrough.

The 34-year-old moved from Mitchell’s Plains to Bradford to pursue his stinging dreams in 2018 and he’s been reaping the rewards ever since – settling in the top 32 in the world and winning his first PDC ranking title.

Petersen’s exploits helped raise the profile of the sport at home and at the recent World Championship he revealed that he was in the process of opening an academy to facilitate the growth of darts across Africa.

“I think it is [darts] still in its infancy with growing and putting in place the right structures that we can actually forge and have an impact on professional touring, ”said Petersen Sky Sports.

“There are loads of African players that I know, it’s just to have this opportunity. Now with me getting a little success and having the notability and profile in South Africa it helps a bit and I think than in 2021 and in the future, we will see much more [players].

“I am launching the Devon Petersen Academy in South Africa and I hope we can diversify into Africa and then open up avenues where we can bring in more African players.”

Petersen’s long-term vision for sport is compelling. He injected his own money into rejuvenating darts in South Africa, exemplified by the launch of his Last Man Standing contest in 2017.

This offers the winner the opportunity to represent South Africa alongside Petersen at the World Darts Cup, and the world No.31 insists financial support is essential for the growth of the sport.

“Everything is planning and moving forward. It’s difficult if you don’t have sponsorship because that’s when everyone has to participate, and it’s more of a cultural issue,” he added.

“A lot of the support comes from the local leagues which is fantastic but they can’t support all the time. It’s a last-ditch effort. We don’t want that.

“We need to have a structure where we can send players with peace of mind so that they can play, without having the stress that we had before.”

Progress is certainly being made. The 2021 PDC World Championship was the first to feature two South Africans, as Cameron Carolissen made his bow in the centerpiece of the sport alongside Petersen.

Devon Petersen outlines his ambition for the development of darts in Africa |  Darts News

Devon Petersen outlines his ambition for the development of darts in Africa |  Darts News 2:43
A moved Petersen admits he missed his family as he was on the road touring the darts circuit

A moved Petersen admits he missed his family as he was on the road touring the darts circuit

Carolissen was given a pass until the second round before succumbing 3-1 to Danny Noppert, although he was tipped to eclipse Petersen’s successes by the man himself.

“I think Cameron has the ability to surpass what I’ve achieved here,” added the reigning German darts champion.

“Everything else starts with a first step and I think now, with Cameron experiencing that and having that first glimpse of the scene – I remember when I went through that.

“It made my hunger even greater and now that means he’s going to work harder. I know he works hard regardless and that’s a South African trait and just a cultural trait in itself.

“I know he will work hard and probably exceed what I have achieved so far. I am always there for him and wish him all the best.”

South Africa’s appetite for sport was illustrated during their run to the 2019 World Cup of Darts quarter-finals, when Petersen teamed up with Vernon Bouwers.

The couple won the scalp first round of Northern Ireland’s fourth seed, which sparked euphoric celebrations from young Mitchell’s Plains players as the clip went viral on social media among the darts community.

Petersen’s Last Man Standing competition has already uncovered potential gems, but he believes an African tour is the next step in cultivating the stars of the future.

The PDC’s commitment to developing the global game has seen the launch of an Asian Tour and a Nordic and Baltic Tour in recent years, which has contributed to unprecedented participation in the respective regions.

“The African Warrior” admits any immediate prospect of seeing darts becoming a professional sport in South Africa is unlikely, but he vowed to “take that mantle and move on”.

Devon Petersen outlines his ambition for the development of darts in Africa |  Darts News

“We want to have representation at the Q School so that we can have players who have the opportunity to experience the tour, and then obviously play and qualify for big tournaments like the World Championship.”

Petersen on the growth of African darts

“At the end of the day, it’s being worked out and we’re slowly moving towards it [African Tour]Petersen continued.

“You can see the base – Cameron Carolissen, we had Vernon Bouwers, we had Warrick Scheffer – all these young players through which is fantastic.

“I think we are now at the point where we can actually push for this [African Tour]. These players have the motivation to come and participate in Q School. This is where we want to be.

Devon Petersen outlines his ambition for the development of darts in Africa |  Darts News

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“We want to have representation at Q School so that we can have players who have the opportunity to experience the tour and then obviously play and qualify for big tournaments like the world championship.

“This will only develop sport and make it a profile sport in the school system, which will obviously bridge the gap between sport played in pubs and sport considered a sport.

“It is potentially a bridge that can be crossed as a professional sport in South Africa. I think we are on a long way. We still have to move forward and I am happy to take this mantle and go. ‘go forward.”

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