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Russian Darts Darling Dobromyslova Promoting Darts in Her Homeland

anastasia-dobromyslova

Russia has been put on the darting map, and it is almost all down to the Russian Darting Beauty Anastasia Dobromyslova. She is planning a series of events this spring to help widen the popularity of the sport in her homeland.

From the Moscow News:

The aim is to set up some high-profile exhibition matches in Russia, while encouraging schoolchildren to take up the sport through a new scheme aimed at improving kids’ maths, which is currently running in about 100 British schools. And Dobromyslova believes there is huge potential for darts to emulate tennis and transform itself from a niche sport to a market leader across the country.

“If you look at Britain, the TV viewing figures are second only to football,” said Dobromyslova. “The opportunity is there. We have lots of sports, which are popular in Russia, but if darts is developed properly it can succeed too. There are more and more players, clubs in Moscow and St Petersburg and even two in my home town, so it’s getting quite big.”

Of course, the elegant Anastasia – known on the circuit as ‘From Russia with Love’ – offers a refreshing contrast from the stereotypical image of crowded bars, beer guts and garish shirts. “You don’t see darts in bars in Russia,” she said. “I started when I was 11 years old, at a kids after-school club. I never knew anything about the sport – it wasn’t popular here and nobody really played it.” Luckily her youthful talent was recognised and after representing Russia’s youth team, Anastasia went on to compete in the professional women’s game, becoming a six-times Russian champion between 1999 and 2004 and claiming prizes in European competition. In 2007, she moved to Britain, where she lives in Ellesmere Port with her husband, fellow darts player Tony Martin.

Her hours of practice – she puts in at least three or four hours a day – paid off as she climbed to the pinnacle of the women’s game and won the 2008 World Championships. Then, controversially, she switched to the men’s Professional Darts Confederation in December – “I had about 10 hours to make the decision,” she recalled – and had her first shot at taking on some of the sport’s biggest names.

“It wasn’t more difficult,” she insisted. “The players are much better but in a way it doesn’t make a difference if you’re playing a man or a woman – you just play your darts. I have to practise much more now, though. The level I was at to play against ladies isn’t enough to compete against men.” Not everyone was thrilled by the news – Wayne “Hawaii 501” Mardle admitted that if he lost to Anastasia he’d quit the sport immediately and go and live in Las Vegas. But as she prepares for this weekend’s Dutch Masters in Amster dam she has already claimed a few scalps in the men’s game, beating Andy Relf and Kevin Reade on her way to the third round of the Players Cham pionship in Doncaster.

While her own darting career has blossomed, she is aware that her compatriots often struggle to get their break in the sport – something this spring’s promotion, backed by leading dart manufacturer Unicorn, could help to put right.

“I was really blessed,” she said. “I had an opportunity to go to tournaments, but lots of people don’t have that chance. First it costs money, then there are visa problems. For people who are working it means a lot of time off work. But there are several players who, if they could have the opportunity, would love to come and be successful.”

Her manager, Steve Motter shead, who also represents 14-times World Cham­pion Phil “The Power” Taylor, hopes that with support from cable channel NTV and free-to-air 7TV the game can thrive. “We’re using Anastasia to help promote the game, and ultimately we want to have a big-money international tournament in Russia,” he said. “We’re getting competitors from Canada, U.S.A., China, South Africa and Scandinavia. They’re not quite at the standard of the British and Dutch guys yet, but in five years time I believe they will be. The professionalism and money in the game is making it much more attractive all over the world – including Russia.”

Read the entire original article here.

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