It is long believed darts as a game came from archers shortening their arrows to throw into a small concentric circle wooden target. However, darts turned full circle when the bowmen used a standard dartboard as a target board. The sport was known initially as darts-archery the name was later to be shortened to ‘Dartchery’. It also became an Olympic Disability Summer Sport! Read on..
On the 24th March, 2005 darts became a recognised sporting activity by Sports England. Later that year, on the 3rd June, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland added their unanimous agreement that darts was a sport, however, the sport was not to receive Lottery funding and per many other sporting activities.
The main argument for darts to be recognised as a sport was the hand-eye coordination and throwing ability was required. The fact the player had to walk to retire their darts was not a real consideration as it made no difference if it took a player a few seconds or ten seconds to complete this task.
Darts could be considered like other target sports such as pistol and rifle shooting, clay disc shooting and archery. However, many still consider dart as a past time game such as snooker and table pool. Regardless of which camp you believe darts should reside in, the next question asked, once darts was given the status of a sport, was should it appear in the Olympic Games?
Darts as an Olympic sport could be a stretch too far and I probably subscribe to this view. Although I love the sport/game, I personally don’t see it as a main Olympic event in the near future.
Darts, however, has featured on an Olympic stamp. In 1964 the Yemen Arab Republic issued a set of four stamps featuring Darts, Table Tennis, Running and Volleyball. At the time table tennis wasn’t an Olympic sport nor of course was darts! Table tennis, however, became a summer Olympic sport in 1988. It first featured at in Seoul, South Korea Summer Olympics in 1988.
Dartchery (Dart-Archery) is a combination of darts and archery. It appeared in the Summer Paralympic Games from 1960 and remained on the Paralympic programme for wheelchair athletes up until Arnhem, the Netherlands in 1980. Thirty-one mixed pairs from eighteen countries took part at the 1968 Paralympic games in Tel Aviv and teams competed against each other in sixteen rounds. It was the American pair Geissinger and Kelderhouse won the gold medal.
The event consisted of mixed pairs 1960-1980 and from 1972-1980 men’s and women’s pairs was introduced. Each archer, like standard darts, would fire three arrows, in turn, to reduce a score of 301 to zero.
The origins of Dartchery stems from in the UK. It was a group of non-disabled darts players playing ordinary darts against wheelchair archers using a bow and arrow to shoot at a conventional standard dartboard exactly three times the normal size of a standard dartboard. They shot their arrows from a distance of thirty feet approximately 12 yards, however, records show this distance varied and 15-20 yard distances have also been used. Archery-darts or Dartchery was demonstrated at the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1953 and added to the competitive programme in 1954 and it became an Olympic sport in the Summer Para Olympics in 1960.
Achive Footage Tokyo Paralympics 1964. View this full video on YouTube
Matches can be played as singles or in teams. In a match, teams alternate to shoot the target from a 20-yard mark. Each player or team gets to shoot three arrows during their turn. Points are awarded for each shot depending on where the arrow falls within the target area.
The gameplay and scoring are similar to that of darts, where players start from 301 points and reduce their points with each shot. The objective is to end the game with an exact zero score. If the score falls below zero in a turn, the score is reverted back and the player has to continue taking turns until perfect zero is achieved. The player to first reach zero is declared as the winner of the match.
Watch the demo of ‘Dartchery’, Darts vs Archery circa 1954
If you are interested in becoming an archer, weather you are disabled or not, here is a link to a useful website:
Achive Footage. View this video on YouTube