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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 18:10 GMT
Darts champions back Olympic bid
By Ben Dirs

PDC world champion Phil Taylor
Taylor is an 11-time world champion
World champions Phil Taylor and Andy Fordham say it is about time darts was recognised as a sport and included in the Olympic Games.

Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell has launched a campaign aimed at achieving both these aims.

And Taylor, the defending Professional Darts Corporation champion, said: "It's about time because we really have worked hard for this.

"At least Britain would get some more gold medals at the Games."

Taylor and Fordham - who is holder of the British Darts Organisation crown - are set to meet in a 60,000 "super-match" at the Circus Tavern, Purfleet on 21 November.

And they are undeterred by Sports Minister Richard Caborn telling Russell that recognition from the UK Sports Council was unlikely "in the foreseeable future".

"It's just as much a sport as golf or snooker," said Taylor.

The game's getting bigger and bigger worldwide - my time's coming to an end
Phil Taylor

"You can understand why people have looked down on us as a second-rate sport in the past but that's changed now.

"The youngsters coming through are more professional and if I want to compete against them I've got to look after myself."

Fordham, meanwhile, has joined forces with Nuts magazine to launch a petition calling for the oche to become a fixture at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Darts has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years and it is the second most watched sport behind football on Sky television.

Tickets for the much-anticipated showdown between Taylor and Fordham sold out in half an hour and it will be the first pay-per-view darts match in history.

Andy Fordham
Fordham won the BDO crown in 2004

And the darts boom shows no signs of abating, with the BBC showing every game of next year's BDO championships live on interactive TV.

"It's getting very big in Holland and elsewhere in the world and it's getting pushed more and more on TV," said Fordham, who is currently recovering from a broken wrist.

And Taylor, an 11-time world champion, believes the darts explosion could shake him down from the top of the tree.

"The game's getting bigger and bigger worldwide - my time's coming to an end.

"It's been my livelihood for 20-odd years so I'll still work in the game but if I do start slipping I'll do something about it."

In the meantime, Taylor is fully focused on his clash with Fordham, a game "The Power" says might be the biggest of his career so far.


SEE ALSO
Darts eyes status as sport
04 Aug 04 |  Other Sport
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29 Jul 04 |  Fun and Games


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