Rookie Arek darts for glory

For a sport to grow it needs young participants.

Most disciplines in Cayman see a heavy youth presence and the latest sport to go in that direction is darts.

Last Saturday at the annual Vivian Rankine Memorial tournament one young man stepped up.

Arek Archibold, just 11 years old, shone at the Corner Pocket throwing some solid darts in front of a crowd of some 60 people.

The highlight for Archibold would be an epic match with Neville Parker (the overall runner-up) during the division stages that saw Parker barely beat the youngster.

Archibold was at the tournament with his mom Irma Smith, who has been in darts for some time.

Smith, who is Hispanic, has been in Cayman for some 39 years and said her son was eager to play.

‘He has been playing for fun at home for awhile. But this is the first time he has entered a tournament of any kind.

‘I encouraged him a little to try and come out for the tournament as a way to support another young person in George [Rankine, Vivian Rankine’s son].

‘However Arek came up with the desire to play on his own.’

For Archibold it is not just his mom who has influenced him in darts. Step-father Earl ‘The Pearl’ Smith (who has been married to Irma for eight years) is one of the better players in Cayman.

In fact The Pearl’s status fuels young Archibold to play.

‘I’ve been playing for like three or four months now. I like it because it’s fun actually throwing the darts and it’s cool seeing the scores add up.

‘Right now I want to beat my dad because he always beats me.’

Archibold’s presence at the tournament struck many dart figures. Tournament organizer Martin Bodden said it was a stunning display by Archibold.

‘Arek stood out the most to me. He looked like someone with experience. He was very mature and composed and I feel his step-father was a good role-model for him.

‘He was hitting doubles and did very well for his first time. For a kid his age to be out there shows he is very brave. I’m proud of him and it gave me great satisfaction seeing his mom beam with pride.’