Arek, 12, is on target to hit the spot

In
a little over a month’s time local darts hopes to perform well overseas.
However, for the first time, a teenager carries some of the expectations.

The
Cayman national darts team travels to Abaco, Bahamas, for the 2010 Caribbean
Championships from 20-31 August, featuring 15 countries, including Brazil,
Canada and Jamaica. A key part of Cayman’s hopes for success at the event is
Arek Archibold.

Archibold,
12, is the lone junior player for Cayman and is slated to compete in the newly
introduced junior division during the Americas Cup and Caribbean Cup. With
about eight months of experience playing darts competitively, Archibold is
still learning the sport.

However,
the young man has been a good student of the game. Last year he burst on the
scene via the Vivian Rankine Memorial tournament and the Mickey Mouse
competition during Pirates Week. Since then he has steadily improved and has
held his own during the national darts league, beating adults.

In
addition he gets instruction regularly from step-father and established player
Earl “The Pearl” Smith, a former national champion in his native Bahamas. As a
result, many within local darts, including Cayman Islands Darts Association
President Arthur Ebanks, are confident about young Arek.

“This
is the first tournament that the America Cup will feature both Canada and the
US and see the introduction of a youth league (for boys and girls in the U16
age group). We weren’t successful getting a girl, but we did get a boy in Arek
who has been in darts for a little while. Arek is very promising and has been
competing against the adults. He has given them a run for their money. If he
keeps on the way he’s going, he will be one heck of a good player.”

Ebanks
doubles as team manager for the Cayman side. Helping him guide the squad are
head coach Tony Archibold and assistant coaches Cassius Anglin and Hank Ebanks
(he was slated to play but sustained a serious injury to his throwing arm).

Some
14 darts players will represent Cayman. The male players (excluding Arek
Archibold) are Adrian Mannouch, Eddie Ballantyne, Cliff Weeks, Earl Smith, Paul
Anglin, Richard Campbell, Mel Tagalog and Edsell Haylock. The women competitors
are Michelle Terry, Michelle Cullen, Miriam Rodriguez, Linda Locke and newcomer
Tiffany Laurie.

Arthur
Ebanks said he has a feeling young Archibold can produce a high finish due to
the tactics he is learning from Smith.

“I
have a good feeling he’ll place and it could be pretty high as well. Under the
guidance of Earl, a former Bahamian champ, he is doing a lot of good things. He
could be very impressive in this tournament.”

As
one might imagine given his age, Archibold is shy. Though he didn’t comment on
his feelings about the upcoming tournament, he has said previously that he
enjoys playing.

“I’ve
been playing for a couple months now. I like it because it’s fun actually
throwing the darts, and it’s cool seeing the
scores add up.”

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