Neville Labadie 2020 National Day Darts Champion

The curtains came down on the 2020 Saint Lucia Darts Association (SLDA) calendar of events on Saturday evening (December 19th) with the staging of the National Day extravaganza at Prio’s Bar and Grill in Corinth. The event was in collaboration with the Ministry for Youth Development and Sports.

Southern Pointers ace player Neville Labadie emerged champion defeating Cuthbert Tony from Untouchables A 2-0 in another exciting encounter on the night.

This was Neville’s second championship win since the revival of Darts on the island on September 12th when he paired up with Cuthbert Tony to defeat Hendrickson Joseph and Victor Simeina 2-1 after the scores were locked at 1-1.

In the mixed doubles contest, it was an all Amazona derby, Hendrickson Joseph and Delta Lionel defeating Peter Lionel and Leona Augustin 2-1.

Despite the top winners, there were a few outstanding performances of note, Lance Charles hitting a 180 top score, Andrea Leon denying Cuthbert Anthony of a clean sweep, the first time winning a game against Cuthbert Tony.

Following that encounter there was a call for the women to start competing against the men in the Open Singles so they, the women, can be more competitive on any given day not only on the local scene, but regionally as well.

The VOICE spoke to the SLDA president Peter Lionel about the 2020 season as to what can the various teams and darts followers expect in 2021.

“On a yearly basis we host the Independence and National Day tournaments, this year is no different in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, non-contact sports were given the green light by our local health authority,” Lionel said.

“We were unable to stage the usual categories this time around, but decided to settle with an Open Singles where any individual could have taken part. In the mixed doubles, any female player who walked in had the opportunity to tag up with any male individual player and that aspect worked out well, fortunately we had four Amazona players in the mixed doubles,” he added.

“The SLDA is looking forward to 2021 with great expectation with support from the Ministry for Youth Development and Sports. The Ministry gave the go ahead to host the National Day Classic, we now look forward to the Independence Day Classic in February,”  he said.

In terms of the quality of play exhibited, the SLDA Boss said, “Sure, I am satisfied, we have improved from zero to 85%, the players are now playing darts on a level that we expect them too so they can compete against some of the best in the Caribbean and further afield”.

He added, “At the beginning most players were struggling, I have seen a great improvement complimented with the hard work put in by the various teams, I must also add, that we will be ready to participate in any regional tournament come 2021”

Looking at darts at the Primary and Secondary Schools Level: “ Come 2021, its not left to the SLDA, it is something we have been aspiring to for sometime now, at one time we were given the go ahead, but there are hurdles. It’s a very safe sport, a very discipline sport, it’s a mathematical sport.

“There is a component of darts in the Caribbean and Worlds darts which caters for Youth Darts (age 13 and older), if we can enhance that product in Saint Lucia right now, we have a very good platform to go on not just to go out there and play but sustain the sport in Saint Lucia, as you can see the current crop of players are getting older and we need the younger ones to come to the fore,” Lionel said.

Lionel took time out to thank the proprietor of Prio’s Grill and Bar, Denis Louis for collaborating with the SLDA by allowing them to use his facility to host the various championships. “We look forward to 2021 to continue this partnership and have even bigger tournaments at the venue,” he said.

Anthony De Beauville is The VOICE Publishing Company’s multi-award winning sports journalist. He works closely with a number of sports federations including the Department of Youth Development and Sports, the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee and other organizations.

He covers and contributes articles highlighting the areas of international, regional, national, community based clubs and schools sporting activities. There is never an off day as he stays busy... Read full bio...

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