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Devon Petersen looks to develop darts within Africa

South African darts player Devon Petersen has explained his ambitions of helping to grow the sport in his home nation following his breakthrough into the PDC.

Devon Petersen looks to develop darts within Africa

Petersen's debut in the PDC World Championships a decade ago has coincided with a growth of darts in Africa ever since and will only be accelerated by his recent successes over the last 18 months.

In 2018, he opted to move from Mitchell's Plains in Cape Town to Bradford in pursuance of his dream in darts before coming in as the world's number 31 darts player and winning his first PDC ranking title.

The 34-year-olds success has led him to begin the process of opening up an academy in the hope of further growing darts in Africa.

"I think it's [darts] still in its infancy with the growth and setting up proper structures that we can actually forge forward and be an impact on the professional tour," Petersen told Sky Sports.

"There are loads of African players that I know of, it's just having that opportunity. Now with me achieving some small success and having the notability and profile in South Africa, it helps a bit and I think that in 2021 and the future, we will see a lot more [players].

"I am starting the Devon Petersen Academy in South Africa and hopefully we can branch out to Africa and also then opening up avenues where we can have more African players coming through."

In 2017, Petersen invested his own money into launching the Last Man Standing competition in South Africa in order to boost the sports' popularity. The winner is offered the opportunity to represent South Africa alongside Petersen at the World Cup of Darts.

However, the world number 31 believes that financial support is what will help grow darts in the future.

"Everything is planning and just pushing forward. It's hard if you don't have sponsorship because it becomes then where everybody has to chip in, and it's more like a cultural thing," he added.

"A lot of the support comes from the local leagues, which is fantastic, but they cannot support all the time. It is a last-ditch effort. We don't want that.

"We need to have a structure where we can send players over with a peace of mind so they can perform, without having the stresses that we had before."

The Last Man Standing competition has already exposed some potentially exciting prospects coming out of South Africa but Petersen has suggested that an African Tour should be the next step taken to see those players achieve their potentials.

"Ultimately it's been in the making and we're slowly progressing towards it [African Tour]," Petersen continued.

"You can see the grassroots - Cameron Carolissen, we had Vernon Bouwers, we had Warrick Scheffer - all these young players coming through which is fantastic.

"I think that we are now at the point where we can actually push for it [African Tour]. These players have the motivation to actually come over and participate in Q School. That is where we want to be.

"This will then just grow the sport and make the sport more of a profile sport within the schooling system which obviously bridges the gap between sport that is played in pubs, and sport that is seen as a sport.

Author: Jake Wilkin