Rugby darts talent has beaten new world champion - twice!
Darts talent Prakash Jiwa has qualified for the PDC Tour, winning one of just 34 places being contested by more than 400 hopefuls.
It’s the second time Prakash, 44, has earned his PDC tour card, the first being in 2010 - and he is looking forward to another two years of taking on the world’s best players on the professional circuit.
The four-day Qualifying School at Wigan last week saw each day’s semi-finalists gain an automatic card. Points were then awarded for each round of that tournament, with tour places going to the top 18 in the Order of Merit. Prakash finished fifth with 14 points.
“It was the largest field I have ever played in,” said a delighted Prakash, who plays his local league darts for the Webb Ellis and Cherry Tree at Catthorpe.
“The first time I gained my card I was only up against 140. This time there were nearly 430, from as far away as Brazil and Japan, Canada and the USA.
“My first day went well and I was just one game away from automatic qualification. I picked up nine points, which I was very pleased with as last year I only had seven from the four days.
“At the end, when I knew I’d got my card I was so happy it took me a while to come down! Qualifying in 2010 was tough but this was even tougher,” added Prakash, who is also one of a dozen players competing in the Central England Darts League in Leicester.
The warehouse supervisor’s darts career has already seen him twice beat the new PDC World Champion Gary Anderson, who prevented Phil Taylor from taking his 17th world title earlier this month. And in the last pro tour event of 2014 at Coventry’s Ricoh stadium, he triumphed 6-4 over five-times world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
It was one of only three pro tour events he played last year, each time reaching the quarter-finals. He also finished 13th from over 200 players on the PDC Challenge Tour, for those outside the top 128.
After 27 years in the sport, Prakash attributes his latest form to playing in honour of his mother, Manguben, who sadly died in November last year and the extra hours he has been putting in thanks to his new darts set-up at home. He is also inspired by his family, wife Tejal and children Kishan, 14, and Alisha, 18.
His next tournaments are the UK Open qualifiers in February. And he is hoping for more moments like the highlight of his darting career so far, in Germany two years ago, when although he lost 6-5 to Mervyn King, he was overwhelmed by the 2,500 crowd chanting his name.
Prakash has also taken on the services of his friends Wayne and Becky Niner, who have formed BW9 Sports Management. Specialising in darts, Prakash is their first client and they are hoping to soon add a second.
The idea developed after Prakash took Wayne to a tour event in Reading and he has since been learning more about the professional scene and getting to know the world’s top players.
Wayne, who has always loved darts and plays for the Half Moon in Lawford Road and Squirrel, added: “It means Prakash will now just have to turn up and play and we will arrange everything else, from sponsorship and exhibitions to his tour entries and hotels. It’s exciting for us and should really help Prakash, being able to concentrate on his game and not worry about anything else.”
Wayne would like to hear from any local companies interested in sponsoring Prakash. Please call him on 077919 02966.