Michael van Gerwen in action during the PDC World Darts Championship final.
Michael van Gerwen in action during the PDC World Darts Championship final. SEAN DEMPSEY

Rugby World Cup-winning coach wants darts in Olympics

DARTS: Former England rugby coach Clive Woodward is backing a call for darts to become an Olympic sport.

Writing in the UK's Daily Mail, Woodward - who also held the post of British Olympic Association director of elite performance - said darts "ticks all the boxes” for inclusion in future Games.

"Darts should be an Olympic sport,” he wrote.

"No, seriously. The world of sport is evolving, the Olympics is evolving and I want to see darts in the Games.

"Easier said than done, but it ticks all the boxes.

"Sport is about people striving to do their best, competing to win while also accepting loss. Darts has all that and much more.”

Woodward, who was England coach between 1997 and 2004 and led the team to Rugby World Cup success in Australia in 2003, said he also loved the sporting entertainment and human drama that darts delivered.

"I've lost track of the number of people who say they first tuned into darts on TV by mistake and were still there an hour later living every moment. It draws you in,” he said.

"At least half the coverage involves close-ups of faces. You can see the mental process, the calculations, the sweat, the stress, the panic and the calming of the nerves.”

Woodward and other darts fans might have a long wait to see the sport at the Games, however.

At the moment there are 37 officially recognised Olympic sports and darts is not one of them.

Tokyo, host of the 2020 Games, will have surfing, sport climbing and karate among six new sports included in its Olympics.

Martial art muay thai and cheerleading last month also received provisional recognition as Olympic sports.

Woodward said he loved the coverage of the recent world championships at which Michael van Gerwen won his second title in London.

"Darts is a sport of and for the people and that is what the modern-day Olympics is striving very hard to reflect,” he said.

"If you made darts an Olympic sport tomorrow, almost overnight millions of men and women from the age of 15 to 65 would suddenly nurture private hopes and ambitions that they could be Olympic champions. It's that accessible.”



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