Arek leads youths aiming to be the best

In about two months time the local
darts scene picks up again with a pair of competitions. One of the faces locals
can look for is Arek Archibold.

The year eight Clifton Hunter High
School student was the star of the Cayman team at the 2010 Caribbean
championship of darts in Abaco, Bahamas last month. Archibold made it to the
finals of the Americas Cup junior event, losing to Canadian Shaun Nairaine in
the inaugural youth singles championship 8-2.

Nairaine, 17, is a native of Canada
and has a deep connection to darts. He has watched the sport since he was four,
has been playing in Canadian leagues since he was ten and recently qualified
for the Alberta regional team. Meanwhile Archibold, 12, has only nine months of
experience in darts after being introduced to the sport this year.

In spite of playing on a stage in
front of hundreds of people, Archibold states he was not afraid.

“It felt good, I wasn’t nervous,”
Archibold said. “During qualifying I beat a Bahamian guy 8-1 and that was easy.
The Canadian guy was older than me but I wasn’t afraid to be on stage. I was
just playing my game. My coach Cassius Anglin, one of the national team’s
assistant coaches, encouraged me to play the Canadian guy like I would play him
at home.

“I remember trying to throw and
beat the guy, I don’t remember nothing else like how I felt or what went
through my head. I just wanted to throw and have fun.”

Not only did Arek do well to make
the finals, he had a chance of winning. Nairaine was ahead 2-0 after the first
two games before Archibold rallied back to take the next two games. Each match
from there was close as Nairaine rattled off six victories for the trophy.
Archibold’s play impressed all on the Cayman darts team, including team manager
and Cayman Islands Darts Association President Arthur Ebanks.

“The crowd that was there was
cheering him on,” Ebanks said. “They seemed real impressed with him and they
quickly got behind him. Arek performed beyond what any rookie would have done.
Imagine, that guy is one of the top players in all of Canada and our boy has
been playing for less than a year. After the game Arek told me that there was
no pressure at all with a big smile and that next time he competes the number
one spot would be his.

“At his age he can take the
Caribbean title many times and progress to the senior level for Cayman. I have
to thank his step-father Earl Smith (who also played for the national team) and
Cassius for training Arek and preparing him in such a short time before the

Like all parents Arek’s mother Irma
Smith and biological father Anthony “Tony” Archibold (who was Cayman’s head
coach) are proud of their son’s achievement. Smith in particular feels Arek’s
success opens the door for bringing more youth through the sport.

“I would like Arek to be a mentor
in darts,” Smith said. “If I could get a room somewhere with darts boards,
maybe somewhere at his school, I would get five to 10 kids who are serious to
learn the sport emulate what he’s doing. It could be an after-school program
just like with football or any other sport.”

With November seeing the return of
the Mickey Mouse and Vivian Rankine Memorial tournaments, Arek Archibold states
his focus is on hitting triple 20s and ton 40s again.

“After playing in Abaco I felt
proud of myself. I learned to play at a high level and keep numbers in my head.
I felt like I could go home and throw a lot more to train for the next
tournament in Belize in 2012. I’m looking forward to playing here soon. I want
to be above everyone else. I’m not scared, I would like to teach kids about
darts with my step-dad if they’re serious. I just want to keep playing because
darts is my sport now.”

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