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Friday, 10 January, 2003, 16:02 GMT
Q&A: John Part
New PDC champion and one of the BBC's top darts pundits John Part answers your e-mails.
John Part is one of darts' top professionals having won both the Embassy title in 1994 and the PDC crown last Sunday in a 13-set thriller against the mighty Phil Taylor.
2003 is set to be a big year for Part as he looks to add to his impressive collection of titles.
The Canadian has also become one of the BBC's expert commentators at the Embassy world championship.
He answers a selection of your questions below.
Steve Cassidy, England
What gave you the most satisfaction, winning the Embassy in 1994 or knocking Phil Taylor off his perch and winning the PDC championships?
The most satisfaction would have to be last week because it was a long-term goal that I'd had in mind for many years. It was obviously such a mountain to climb, so I'd have to go for the PDC.
John, as a BBC pundit you've obviously been keeping a close eye on events at the Embassy. How do you see the final going?
It's looking like Barneveld, but I think Davies has a very good chance. He's played very solidly, finished well he's looked pretty cool.
Plus, he hasn't had the outpouring of emotion that Raymond had after his semi-final. I think Raymond might have let loose a little to much, because you do need to stay focused and not give too much away.
But I'm sure Raymond is the betting favourite, and I can't disagree with that. But it's not a foregone conclusion.
As we saw last week, the bookies' favourite doesn't always win!
Which do you think has been the tie of the tournament?
Monk and O'Shea going to the 11th and playing the deciding set was really exciting. That match had everything.
Mind you, the semi between Mervyn and Raymond was great entertainment, particularly when they both had a nine-dart leg on. That's very rare.
I don't think you can top Monk and O'Shea though.
Matthew Bateman, England
Will you ever return to playing at the Embassy? You must miss the terrific atmosphere.
No. I don't think it would possible to be honest. I would never give up playing on the PDC circuit. I don't think it would ever work out that we could. I'm fine where I am and I'm quite happy.
Margie Underhill, Canada
Is there any particular player from Canada who you think would be a success in the PDC league?
That's a tough question. It's very difficult for a Canadian player to make an impact because of the availability of tournaments there and the funding needed to get into them.
There's no one who comes to mind off the top of my head. It takes a lot of experience to play well and win. Any player would have to make a big commitment of time and come to England. It's not something that would happen very fast but the potential is there.
Maybe with me becoming World Champion is might become easier.
Are you disappointed that there isn't more recognition of the sport in Canada and do you have any theories why that is?
It's not viewed in any way as an athletic sport, even though you do need stamina to play a three-hour match. It's true that you don't necessarily have to be fit, but it definitely helps.
But I wouldn't say I'm disappointed about those attitudes because when I started in the sport I knew what they were. That's not to say I wouldn't like them to be better.
Hopefully that can happen by getting my matches on TV. They need to start showing live darts. You can't get the same excitement from watching a darts match if you already know the outcome.
After Barnevled's first Embassy win, darts became very popular in Holland. Do you think you can have the same effect?
That's exactly my point. In Holland they can watch Barneveld because they have the BBC. But that has never been available in Canada for my victories, not this time or in 94.
I think the programmers are afraid to take the risk, purely because they don't know the sport. The thing is, when they have shown darts it's been very popular. There is a lot of interest.
John, would you (as the PDC champion) be up for a one-off match against whoever wins at Lakeside, similar to the Barneveld v Taylor match a few years ago?
I'd be up for something like that. Not that I think I've got to prove anything, but I think it would be a lot of fun.
But I think they'd have to change the format from when they did it last time. I don't think it was as exciting as they would have liked. I don't think it quite worked.
I'd be interested, but I don't think it will happen.
James and Alan Brewster, England
When did you first become interested in Darts?
In the mid-80s, when I was in my late teens. I never had that much exposure to it as a child. I was always fascinated by darts but I didn't really know the game.
I liked the concept of throwing the darts through the air. I might have had a toy dartboard as a child but I don't think I ever threw the darts at the board!
It wasn't until I was 20 or 21 that I really started to get to know the game.
James MacKinnon, N.S. Canada
When you first took up darts, how long did it take you to settle on a grip? Did your grip just come naturally to you, or was it a matter of multiple modifications over months and months?
I just let the grip work itself out. I did whatever felt natural. I concentrated more on my arm mechanics and my stance, but I just let the grip come.
Brian Arthur, Scotland
My friend is a fantastic darts player but does not seem to think he could "cut it" on the big stage. He thinks it's too much hassle and too expensive to become a professional.
What's your advice on the best method of getting yourself recognised and on the professional darts circuit?
The only way is to go out and get into ranking tournaments, whether it's in the BDO or the PDC. My advice is to look at the schedules, find the ranking tournaments and make a stab at five or six of them.
You need to try a few because you're not guaranteed to get a result in every one of them.
In the PDC some tournaments are ranked more highly than others, so it's best to start with the lower ranking ones. Just try and get some points under your belt.
Greg Lewis, Calgary, Canada
Why does the UK consistently produce better players than the rest of the world? There are good darts programs in Canada, Holland, Belgium and Australia. Do you think these other countries will produce more world class players in the future?
I think it's about numbers, really. It takes time for the darts playing populace of your country to improve. The best way for any player to get better is to come to England, because it's a higher standard.
But I think there's plenty of potential for other countries to catch up, especially if there are large numbers of people playing.
In Canada, people don't strive to reach the tournament scene. They just like going out and playing in leagues. You need a thriving, competitive field with more interest in winning tournaments.
Neil Francis, UK
Do you ever the see the split in the world of darts being bridged so that we get back to having one Undisputed World Champion?
I don't see it happening. I don't think the organisations will ever reconcile their differences to come up with one thing.
But I don't think it will be in anyone's mind anyway. I think the PDC Championships will continue to grow in stature.
06 Jan 03 | Other Sports
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