It is all systems go for the Zone Six Darts Youth Championships taking place next month, and the National Youth Coordinator of the Namibia Darts Federation (NDF) Kathy O’Malley said she is pleased with the progress.
Six regions, namely Khomas, Otjozondjupa, Zambezi, Kunene, Kavango and Omaheke took part in national trials recently, where U-15 and U-18 girls and boys were chosen to make up the Namibian team.
“We recently held national trials, which went very well and were won by Khomas,” O’Malley said.
Of the upcoming tournament, she said her biggest aim is “not to finish last like Namibia usually does at these types of events.
I want the players to enjoy themselves. They put in a lot of hard work, and have been preparing since last year. We know the South African team is very good, but our team should try their best.”
Namibia previously finished last and fourth in the Girls’ and Boys’ 13-15 years’ categories respectively, and 4th and 5th in the 16-18 years’ categories at the biennial games held in Malawi.
The captain of the Khomas boys’ division, Kondja Kapenambili said despite the pressure to do well, they are well-prepared.
“Of course, there is pressure. It’s the first time this tournament is being hosted by Namibia, and there will be expectations for us to get medals, which is our aim as well,” he enthused.
Miriam Cornelius of the girls’ U-18 division echoed these sentiments.
“We have been preparing since last year. Training is tough, but we train every day.
We want to walk away with a lot of medals and interact with the players from other countries, and see what we can learn from them,” she stated.
Beyond the Zone Six tournament, O’Malley said she hopes it will be an eye-opener and hopefully raise the culture of darts in Namibia. “A lot of people think it’s a bar game. But since I started in 1998 with darts, I have learned and been teaching that you don’t have to drink to play darts.
I want a culture to develop where youth can play darts for as long as they want.
We try, my husband and I, by taking them to his darts club, where they can play and practice their skills,” she noted.
However, developing this culture remains a challenge as not all youth have respect for the sport, she said.
“Last month, we donated 30 sets of darts, including dartboards, because there was a lack of ample equipment.
However, we only got six sets back, and one of them was incomplete. The youth thus need to realise the ethics and morals of the game,” O’Malley lamented.
She said despite her 70 years, she is prepared to take darts in Namibia far.
“I am happy that more regions are starting to play, and next year I would like to get more regions involved,” she continued.