PETALING JAYA: Darts could be making a comeback in Malaysia with an upcoming tournament offering players the chance to attain world rankings.
Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D'Cruz also urged the Youth and Sports Ministry to help popularise the sport as he believes Malaysia has the potential to create world class players.
"The game of darts has been around for quite a long time in Malaysia. It has been associated with social themes that at times give it a negative perception but in reality, it is a much followed international sport with major championships held annually around the world," said D'Cruz.
He also opined that there could be a future in darts for Malaysians and pointed out that in the 1970s, it was popular among civil servants, like himself, and the armed forces.
"I strongly think that Malaysians can excel in this non-contact sport, in the same spirit of badminton and squash where we are able to produce world champions like Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nicol David," he said.
D'Cruz pledged RM10,000 from the ministry for the Malaysian Open Darts Championships 2012 at the announcement of its sponsors, at a hotel yesterday.
Malaysian Darts Association president Nancy Ambrose said the internationally sanctioned tournament would offer World Darts Federation World Ranking points to participants who finish at the top of their class.
She said more than 70 teams confirmed their participation in the tournament, including players from Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The tournament, to be held from Aug 31 to Sept 2 at the Amansari Residence Resort in Johor, is also offering a prize purse of more than RM32,000.
Among the prizes offered are RM12,000 for the team champion, RM2,000 for the men's champion and RM800 for the women's champion.