In Darts World last year Darts Historian Patrick Chaplin reported briefly on Iran taking up tungstens but wanted to find out more. In this exclusive article Patrick brings readers up to date with progress.
IRAN’S DARTS CAPABILITY
While world leaders wait and worry concerning Iran’s nuclear capability, other more friendly missiles are being launched as the popularity of darts in that country grows by thousands every day.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Darts Association (IDA) was established in August 2004 to promote darts as a professional sport. Up until that time darts had been played merely for amusement in that country but the authorities could see the potential of the game and thus created the IDA with the purpose of, in the words of the Director Manager, Amin Azizpour ‘To create happiness and health in our society.’
Some two hundred ‘Dart houses’ have been set up with the co-operation of municipal and government organisation across twenty-five of the country’s thirty states. One has even been established 3545 metres above sea level on the summit of Mount Tochal (Now is that the highest official oche in the world?) In addition there are currently over 3,000 billiard clubs in Iran and each will soon be fitted out with a dartboard and stand.
Of the twenty five states, twenty-two have established formal darts committees and it is expected that the remaining eight states will quickly follow suit. Each of the committees must be certified by the Government’s Physical Training Organization and their members must have sports knowledge and raise the funds to promote and pursue the aims of the IDA.
Amin told Darts World ‘Publicly now we have a total of 500,000 dart players in Iran ranging from four years of age to eighty. And this sport has been welcomed by Iranian women, female membership currently standing at 220,000.”
In addition the Iran Darts Association is planning a national competition for children aged 4-7 years old. Amin commented, “We are certain that darts is the enlivening sport for all ages; that is why we are planning to familiarize the children with it from a very early age. Besides, darts is an achievable sport that everybody every where can easily do. Even children can do it while accompanied by their parents. In addition darts will empower the brains’ ability which is important for our children.”
Even with parents looking on, the IDA will not be allowing steel-tip or soft-tip darts to be used by such young players. Amin confirmed that “The competition will be conducted utilising magnetic dartboards. As soon as Government validation of the plan is received the competition involving about 70 kindergartens nationwide will begin.” The IDA has great hopes for the young darters in the future and, thinking ahead, Amin told Darts World “We hope to host an ‘international dart Olympics’ for all children under seven years of age in the world.
The Iranian National Team already boasts dart players that can attain three-dart averages of 100 including male champions Shahin Mehrju and Farzan Sadeghi. Of the ladies, the top players include Sahar Zohouri and Marjan Jedi. Amin told Darts World that now the IDA is a member of the World Darts Federation (WDF) they are looking forward to entering future Asian and World Cups. Darts World looks forward to reporting on Iran’s darts progress in the months and years to come.
Amin added, “The IDA is eager to attract English dart players to come to Iran and we are trying to provide the essential conditions for this reason in the future.” However, given the political situation at present it would be wise for any professional dart players to seek advice before considering embarking on a tour of Iran. (Just to be on the safe side!)
© 2006 Patrick Chaplin
(This article first appeared in Darts World June 2006.)
‘WINMAU World Masters, Bridlington November 2007 – Patrick Chaplin (centre) meets IDA Director Manager, Amin Azizpour (left) and international darts ambassador Eddie Norman (right) who recently visited Iran to promote the sport.
Supplementary Note: In discussions at the 2007 World Masters in November 2007 at Bridlington, Amin Azizpour informed me that the estimated number of darts players in Iran is now in excess of 1,000,000.