World's top eight to compete in Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters - 23/01/2013
The world's top eight darts players are to visit Dubai this year for the $250,000 Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters, which will be played on May 23 & 24 at the Dubai Tennis Stadium as the first leg of the PDC's World Series of Darts.
Phil 'The Power' Taylor, the reigning and 16-time World Champion, will head the field of eight players who will compete in the knockout event, the first-ever professional darts tournament to be held in Dubai.
Taylor will be joined by seven world-class rivals in competing in the two-day event at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, which will boast US$250,000 in prize money, including US$50,000 for the winner.
Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis, the world number two, is joined by seven-time major title winner James Wade, World Grand Prix champion Michael van Gerwen, European Champion Simon Whitlock, two-time major finalists Andy Hamilton and Wes Newton and five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld in challenging for the title.
Commenting on the event, Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free said: "This is the first time that a professional darts tournament has been staged in Dubai and the first time that darts will be played in an outdoor arena.
"We think that this sport, which is growing in popularity across the world, will be a good addition to Dubai's busy sports and social calendar."
The players will initially compete in four knockout quarter-final matches on Thursday May 23, before the semi-finals and final are held on Friday May 24 to determine the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters champion.
"The Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters is an exciting event and I'm delighted that we'll be coming to Dubai in May," said Taylor, who launched the event on Wednesday.
"I've never had the chance to play there before so it's great for me and the other players that we'll be able to play for such a great title.
"The sport's growing around the world and it's a great chance for fans in both Dubai and from across the Middle East to see a live event, and hopefully this will be the seed for the tournament to grow in the coming years."
With players from 21 countries having competed recently in the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship and 24 nations taking part in February's Betfair World Cup of Darts, the PDC see the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters as an important stepping-stone in the sport's worldwide growth.
"Darts is already a hugely popular sport in both Dubai and across the Middle East due to the live television coverage of our events on OSN, but it's a very positive development to be staging the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
"Darts fans in Dubai will now get to see the best players in darts in the flesh for the first time in May and this tournament will give them the chance to experience a full PDC event live.
"Our aim is that the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters will be the inaugural tournament in a World Series of Darts which will see our top players taking the sport around the world, and our negotiations are continuing to turn this vision into a reality."
The event, which is sponsored by Dubai Duty Free and was brokered by One Events and Radar, will be shown live across the Middle East on Dubai Sports and through OSN, with further live coverage to be confirmed.