Four Belgians compete in 2024 PDC World Darts Championships
Friday night sees the start of the 2024 World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace in London, the annual highlight of the sport. Four Belgians will take part in the three-week tournament organised by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).
Belgium has become a force in darts in recent years, as Andy Baetens recently proved when he became world champion on the World Darts Federation (WDF) circuit - mainly attended by semi-professionals - earlier this month. A few weeks later, rival PDC is hosting its own tournament, where the world's best darts players will compete.
For the first time, the Belgian delegation will consist of four players. It is led by Dimitri Van den Bergh, who set a new Belgian record last year by reaching the semi-finals of the tournament. He is also the highest-rated Belgian on the PDC ranking with 15th place.
Van den Bergh will be joined by Kim Huybrechts, Mike De Decker and Mario Vandenbogaerde. Huybrechts, a darts veteran, will be playing in his 13th World Championship. De Decker, 28, is the youngest Belgian at the tournament, while Vandenbogaerde is making his World Championship debut at the age of 50.
While the four Belgians have plenty of talent, they will have a tough time going the distance. Darts legends such as reigning World Champion Michael Smith, Dutchman Michael van Gerwen and Scot Peter Wright will also be in London to compete for the first prize, worth 580,000 euros.
The opening round begins on Friday evening. Vandenbogaerde and De Decker will play their first matches on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Van den Bergh and Huybrechts are among the last participants and will play on 22 and 23 December respectively. The final will be played on 3 January 2024.
Belgian Dimitri Van den Bergh © BELGA PHOTO JEF MATTHEE