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Darts players from Blenheim to Bluff have arrived in Oamaru for one of the country’s biggest competitions, which gets under way at the Oamaru Club today.
Close to 300 male, female, youth and junior players will contest the Clubs New Zealand Darts Association South Island tournament in singles, pairs, mixed pairs and a top club format.
While the tournament proper starts today, players had an opportunity to get their eye in at a meet-and-greet drawn pairs competition last night.
The mixed pairs and top club action is contested today, the men’s and women’s pairs on Thursday, the women’s single, youth and junior sections on Friday and the men’s singles and prize giving on Saturday.
Oamaru Club darts section and central region darts president Jason Milne said the venue had proved popular with players in the past due to its central location, and that organisers were keen to build on that.
Several North Otago-based players would compete, which Mr Milne said was encouraging.
‘‘It’s always a good turnout from Oamaru and we have got some good, talented darts players here.’’
The sport continued to grow in popularity, thanks largely to regular television coverage of Professional Darts Corporation events in the UK and Europe, and its annual fixture in New Zealand.
‘‘It’s growing everywhere,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s because of a lot of the TV darts you see and the ladies are coming into it now on the world stage. Even from New Zealand, we have got people on the world stage.’’
He said the success of Fallon Sherrock at December’s world championship, where she made it to the third round before being eliminated, had also boosted participation.
‘‘She is a good inspiration for females.’’