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Monday, 15 January, 2001, 15:51 GMT
Darts: Sport or entertainment?
Is darts a sport or light entertainment?
New darts champ John 'Boy' Walton took home 46,000 and says he'll continue to play at his local pub every Monday night.

So, does an activity you can do in between supping a pint and nibbling pork scratchings really qualify as a sport?

Tell us what you think.


Many people including the BBC's own Rob Bonnet believes darts falls short of being a sport.

Yet, over 4.2 million people watched the BBC's darts coverage - a figure that many light entertainers would die for.

But were they watching athletes at the peak of fitness - both mentally and physically - or just ordinary people playing a pub game?

Is darts a sport or simply entertainment?

Tell us what you think.


I would challenge anyone who says that darts is not a sport to go and try to play the game to the standard seen in the Embassy World Championships. Of course it is also entertainment but definitely a sport played by talented and colourful men and women.
Andrew, Northern Ireland

Darts is an objective, competitive sport
  Ian, Great Britain

Darts may not require the same level of physical fitness as other sports but it does require mental agility and stamina. It's an objective, competitive sport and deserves more recognition than the BBC gives it. It's as much a sport as the likes of snooker and at least there can be no argument about the winner. Unlike some "sports" (ice-skating comes to mind) where it is somebody's opinion that decides a winner.
Ian Norbury, GB

Rob Bonnet's definition of what constitutes a sport is inconsistent. The argument that golf is a sport and darts isn't simply because golf players have to walk further is weak to say the least! His definition seems to rely on an athletic ability, such as strength or stamina to set apart sport from mere games. Where does this leave motorsport where, though an amount of physical endurance is required, a driver is reliant on his skill and reactions? Where does this leave cricket? Does this mean that a spin bowler who relies on his skill and wit to fool the batsman is not a sportsman but the quick bowlers who require fitness,strength and athleticism are?
Dr.Martin Butterfield, UK residing in the US

As a fit and healthy 21 year old, and a keen darts player, I think that the suggestion that darts is a sport only participated in by overweight men is at best patronising. The association between darts and the pub is a cultural one, not an instrinsic one, in much the same way as the assertion that only men can play football is cultural. It seems to me that the criticisms levelled at darts as a sport are superficial ones and if the Embassy stage had been filled with bright young twentysomethings this issue would not be an issue. Perhaps the sport would achieve a more acceptable image if the BDO employed an effective PR machine!
Sarah, UK

If shooting and archery are Olympic sports then of course darts should be classed as a sport. You don't need to be an athlete to fire a gun or bow, which is also the case for darts. Televised sports also have to have entertainment value and I think the tension, characters and supporters at a darts match make it entertaining. I would like to see the BBC televise more darts and less horse racing. I bet more people watched the Embassy World Masters than the latest Sunday Grandstand's serving of horseracing.
Joe, England

"It's fun and exciting but it's not a sport. Darts only has the mental aspect of what defines a sport. Gary Australia"
  Gary Zono, Australia
Sport is not just about running around and getting tired, it's about handling pressure and having a will to win. Therefore, with that in mind darts is a sport.
David Fitzgerald, England

Apply this question to a game of rugby that I saw, between a couple of local teams a few months ago: "...highly tuned athletes, at the peak of fitness..." Are you kidding? However, the OED definition of sport (originally from the French desport) is "a pleasant pastime; entertainment or amusement; recreation, diversion." Does this not describe the game of darts? If not, why not?
Rob Morgan, Canada

Darts is most definitely a sport and anyone who says differently was obviously born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth. The game of darts requires a great deal of constant concentration and skill. It is one of the most competitive and enjoyable games to play and has by far the most tension and drama than any other televised sport.
Robert Duncan, UK

There's more skill to consistently scoring 180 than throwing 3 darts at the board and hoping they land perfectly on target. These players put in hours of practice as do athletes, football players and snooker players; therefore darts should receive the same recognition. It's a different scenario for the pub league dart players, where they are entering more for enjoyment, but even then there's an element of competitiveness.
David, UK

"It's just as difficult to get a bulls eye in shooting or archery as it is to get triple 20's in darts"
  Mark Schuller, Australia
Many darts players look tired, over-weight and unfit, but they think it is a sport. I am sure that the many animals that are shot or hunted in the name of sport would not agree. However, those that partake in this activity would describe it as one. It all depends on very personal argument and prejudice, as is the case with darts.
Dr Marc Williams, USA

I just want to say thank you for the BBC's coverage of the World Darts Championship. I loved being able to watch live streaming video of the matches. The coverage again was superb. I just wish I could watch darts more often on the television here in the States. Bobby George was very personable and I like the way he told as it is. He is very smart and he got all of the matches predicted correctly. Yes, darts is a wonderful SPORT.
Ole David Skallan, Littleton, Colorado USA

Of course it is. Is it any less of a sport than archery, snooker or bowling? Do you need to be physically fit to play these sports? I think that anyone wishing to make darts more commercially viable would spoil it. It's a quality game, played by true sportsmen. I haven't seen a professional foul yet i.e. darts going missing. Come on BBC you've lost everything else let's keep the darts and Bobby George.
Chris Guest, UK

As far as I'm concerned sport is something which improves your fitness, improves your immune system, promotes longevity and a general overall sense of well-being. How can drinking beer in a smoky atmosphere do any of these things. Don't get me wrong because I like darts but sport it ain't!
Lee, UK

"Of course this is a high level sport. Watching the Embassy is the same as watching a world soccer game, maybe a bit more exciting!"
  Marcel Willemsen, Netherlands
Darts is not a sport. It is a highly skilled pub game. How can this game be called a sport, when it's played in its natural environment, players are often find it difficult to walk or talk through alcohol intake. You might as well make pub quizzes a sport!
Stuart Smith, UK

Darts a sport? Absolutely laughable! Where is the physical exertion, the hours of fitness training, getting your body at peak performance levels in order to compete at the very top? These attributes do not apply to darts. It is no more a sport than dominoes or fun fair hoop throwing. It may be great entertainment but that doesn't make it a sport. All these people trying to justify its "sports" status have obviously spent too much time at their local. Physical as well as mental skills are needed for it to be classed as a sport.
Ricky C, UK

In my career I need to work hard, have good concentration and do better than the man next to me. But I do not consider my work a sport. Darts is the same. Just because it requires these skills doesn't make it a sport. The participants are out of shape, lazy people who drink too much. Still it makes good telly...
Andy Hinds, England

There are two sides to every story. Yes, darts involves overweight men exerting no physical effort with the only sweat being the result of the lighting. So, it's not a sport in the sense of athletics or swimming, but to class it as entertainment is way off the mark. Archery is classed as a sport, so why not darts? The 'arrows' thrown manually receive a lower level of respect than those shot by highly advanced technology.
David Lowe, UK

"Since when was a game played by fat men drinking beer considered as a sport"
  Rich Loosley, England
Darts is definitely not a sport. It falls in the same category as snooker. They are both enjoyable to watch, but that doesn't mean they are sports. They require hardly any physical exertion at all, which has to be one of the major definitions of a sport. It is a game or pastime but not a sport. I agree entirely with Rob Bonnet.
Tom W, UK

Some people may not want to call darts a sport - but they would all start calling it one if we had chance of winning Olympic titles. I come from an area where my local darts league has been going for more than 50 years, so is that enough sports dedication for you purists. May the darts be with you!
Kevin Smith, England

Darts is most definitely a sport. So what the players don't have rippling biceps, but the mental toughness is there alongside the accuracy required of many other sports. It's never going to be an Olympic event but then again Beach Volleyball, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Synchronised swimming are, and let's face it they are not sports in the true sense of the word. Rob Bonnet is way off the mark and to pick on Andy Fordham is a disgrace just because he is probably the largest player there is just now. Most darts players don't look like that nowadays (no offence Andy!)
John Simpson, UK

My definition of a sport is a little old fashioned! If you do something that involves players going head to head, one winning, one losing, then it should be described as being sport. However, that would mean that card playing is a sport, and I don't agree with that.
Antony Calvert, England

"It's certainly entertainment when I play. Everyone watching falls about laughing!"
  Mark B, UK

Darts is a very skilful sport, but has a bad image because it's played by overweight guys whose training sessions consist of four hours down the pub every night. However, this doesn't mean it is not a sport. In theory, anything competitive is a sport it doesn't necessarily have to be athletic.
Chris Handley, England

I think the BBC is missing a great opportunity here. Darts is great viewing regardless of whether it's a sport or not. Surely there is enough room in your schedules to televise more than one tournament a year, the viewing figures would suggest this and darts fans like myself would be very grateful.
David Geekie, Scotland

Darts is a sport but I understand the criticism being levelled at it at the moment. This is in light of the recent world championships. There was an amateur feel to the whole event and the final lacked in charisma and professionalism - it was a joke.
Scott Barwick, England

Darts is a combination of skill and athleticism. I great deal of practice is required to get the levels of performance seen during both recent world championships. Dart players hit their target unaided unlike other target sports such as archery and shooting (both of which have Olympic status). It is a sport of which our country should be proud we currently have both world champions. It is also theatre, the close ups on the audience faces are sometimes as entertaining as the match is. Yes it's a sport, its great television and very undervalued by the BBC.
Nick Cook, UK

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