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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 17:06 GMT
Darts players 'amazing at maths'
Andy Fordham
Is Andy Fordham a maths genius?
Darts players have stepped up to the oche to promote a government scheme to improve adult maths skills.

Skills minister Ivan Lewis, visiting the world championships at Lakeside, Surrey, said professionals showed "amazing agility" with numbers.

Some 14.9 million adults in England lack the maths skills expected of 11-year-olds.

Reigning world champion Andy Fordham said the mental arithmetic darts required was a "great leveller".

Doubles and trebles

Mr Lewis said: "Darts is a fun way to sharpen up your number skills but our Get On campaign for adult skills also offers many simple, enjoyable training courses in maths, reading and language that can achieve quick results."

Seven million people describe themselves as regular darts players.

They have to subtract large scores - often multiplied because of hitting "doubles" or "trebles" - from a starting level of 501 points.

Ivan Lewis
Ivan Lewis is a fan of darts' teaching powers

Mr Fordham, known as "the Viking" because of his beard and long hair, said: "I would encourage any players out there who don't feel very confident with maths in other contexts to find more out about the campaign, to build on what they can already do."

Last year, the pub chain John Barras said older darts players were complaining young opponents were unable to add up scores because of a lack of basic mental arithmetic.

Visitors to the Lakeside are being given information packs on numeracy courses.

Darts is currently a divided sport, with rival world championships run by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and British Darts Organisation (BDO).

Phil "the Power" Taylor has just won the PDC for a record 12th time.

The BDO championship, shown on BBC television, continues until Sunday.

Adult skills scheme hits target
06 Dec 04 |  Education


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