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Bull's eye
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 08 - 04 - 2015

The Egyptian Darts Federation is the first federation of its kind not only in Egypt but in the entire Middle East.

“The establishment of the EDF came by coincidence,” founder and president of the Egyptian Darts Federation (EDF) Yehia Abdel-Kader said. “While watching TV I saw a darts game. I know the game but I didn't know its name. I found it very interesting. It is an arithmetic sport. I surfed the Internet about its history, rules, regulations and its equipment. I also found the World Darts Federation which has 80 countries and 460,000 players. What I didn't find was any Arab country that had a darts federation.”

Abdel-Kader already had long experience in the field, having helped establish the Egyptian Bowling Federation. “I was determined to set up the EDF,” Abdel-Khader said.
About the obstacles he faced, Abdel-Kader told Al-Ahram Weekly: “It took four months to make a comprehensive study of the different aspects of the sport. I presented all the requirements for the establishment of a federation. At that time, I suffered badly from the red tape and the performance of the national sports council. This is why I spent five years trying to set up the EDF. I thank Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz for his full support. I presented the file to him. He agreed immediately.

“The EDF will become a member of the World Darts Federation. And I hope next year Egypt will host its first international ranked championship.”

In March, the EDF held its first official tournament. The three-day event had 38 men and women athletes. The official ceremony was launched on Thursday, 26 March at Al-Massa Hotel in Nasr City. Among the attendees were Egypt's Deputy Minister of Sport Asharf Sobhi and media figures.

In a rather unique format, the semi-finals and final rounds were held on the very day of the opening ceremony. “The semi-final and final were intentionally played on the same day of the launch to celebrate both events,” smiled Abdel-Kader.
In the men's, Egypt's Mohamed Gharib took first place, Malaysian Seif Al-Azam came second while England's Mike Spiers and Egypt's Rami Al-Banna finished third. Gharib took the prize with 109 points. The highest score awards went to Spiers, Al-Banna and British Dave Envis.

In the women's game, Lebanese Rania Al-Hariri captured first place and Egypt's Sally Salem finished second.
Salem is one of the players in the Egyptian darts team. “This was my first time to participate in the championship and I took second place,” Salem, who started playing darts in July 2004, said. “Before the establishment of the federation, we used to compete among ourselves. We had been seeking a federation since 2009.
“Darts is like math and needs more accuracy than any shooting sport. It requires special skills like power, speed and accuracy. It's unique in itself. I think it has an educational role because it increases the spirit of friendship and tolerance and cleanses our souls of violence and extremism,” said Abdel-Kader.
“I didn't imagine that Egypt had so many women and men darts players. They practice on their own. I encourage all sporting clubs in Egypt to and join the federation in order to have a large number of EDF members.”
HISTORY: Darts began in Medieval England as a throwing skill. The word ‘darts' means the small missiles that are thrown at a circular target (dartboard) fixed to a wall. The bottom of an empty wine barrel was a clue as to how the game developed into a pastime. It is thought that soldiers took their shortened arrows with them to the local drinking establishment to both exhibit their skill and have fun at the same time. Due to the increase of the number of the throwers, they looked for another alternative. They used a cross-cut of a log (slice of a tree trunk) as the target. The age rings of the tree served as markers or areas where to throw. Later, when the wood started to crack and dry, it would be divided into different parts which evolved into the current dartboard.

The game became so popular during the medieval period that it was taken up by nobility. In 1530 Anne Boleyn presented Henry VIII with a set of ornamented darts.

Darts remained largely an Anglo-American sport until the Victorian age when it spread worldwide by the great expansion of the British Empire.
Unlike other sports, darts is not expensive. It doesn't need extensive or well equipped playgrounds. It is played in closed places. Any age category can play it. The dart board standard height measures from the floor to the centre of the bull's-eye at 5 feet 8 inches (173cm). The throwing distance is measured from the throwing line to a perpendicular line (use a plumb) from the board surface. It should measure 7 feet, 9.25 inches (237cm). The toe-line or throwing line shall be clearly marked and be at least 18 inches (45.72 cm).
BASIC RULES: Darts is played between two players or two teams. The teams can be made up of two or more people each. Nine throws are generally allowed for each person as a warm-up before a game begins. Then, to determine which team or person is to take his turn first, one dart is thrown by a player from each team. The team with the dart closest to the bull's eye takes the first turn.
Each player throws three darts in his turn. Then, the darts are retrieved. If a foot crosses over the line or a person happens to trip over the oche and releases his dart, the throw counts for no points and may not be re-thrown.
Darts must stay on the board for at least five seconds after a player's final throw to count. A throw does not score if it sticks into another dart or if it falls off the board.
Darts making it on the board score in the following manner:
In the wedge is the amount posted on the outer ring.
The double ring (the outer, narrow ring) is twice the number hit.
The triple ring (the inner, narrow ring) is three times the number hit.
Double bull's-eye (inner bull) is 50 points and double of the outer bull 25 points.

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