Those of you who read my article ‘Darts Pandemic’ in Issue 7 of the magazine We Love Darts will know just how far and how fast the sport of darts is spreading across the globe from the UK to the Philippines, from Kuwait to the USA and from Canada to Nepal. Darts even has a presence on Tonga.
Therefore, I was not that surprised when in the autumn of 2009 I received an e-mail from Lee Dunton who is a Brit living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Lee is a member of the Saigon International Darts League (SIDL). The league currently has sixteen dart teams and in the summer of 2009 travelled to Canton, China to play in a tournament featuring representative sides from not only China and Vietnam but also Hong Kong and Singapore.
Of the SIDL Lee told me, “We have some reasonable players. Some have represented county teams or played Super League in the old days. I fondly remember playing in Buckinghamshire Super League back in the late 60’s early 70’s.” The players in the SIDL come from all over the world including Vietnam, England, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Sweden, the USA, India, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Russia, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria, France, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Philippines and Canada. “It’s a great mix” Lee said, adding “with one important element…everyone speaks English!” The two divisions of the SIDL are sponsored by Johnnie Walker whisky and are known (not surprisingly) as the Blue Label and Black Label Leagues.
Lee, who is Chairman of the SIDL, plays for the ALAYAH team (As Long As You Are Happy) and can be seen on the right of the team photo shown here. The ALAYAH team captain is Bob Wittenbach another Brit. (Bob is third from the left in the team photo.) The other photograph shows other SIDL teams, the ‘Dream Team’ and ‘Los Locos Barrochos’.
Lee said, “We really enjoy our Tuesday night darts.” Results, statistics and loads of other photos and information can be viewed on the SIDL website www.thesidl.com adding “And of course there’s an open invitation to anyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City who wants a game.”
So there you have it. Darts in Vietnam: another example of the sport migrating from English soil to a land far away and taking root. Is there nothing to stop this darts pandemic?
I hope not.
Text © 2010 Patrick Chaplin
Photos sourced by Lee Dunton 2009
With special thanks to Lee for the contact and information.