Toni darting to the nationals
DARTS: Move over Simon Whitlock, here comes Toni Konui.
In a week when the exploits of ace Whitlock against the best in the world have captured headlines, Konui is hoping to create a few of her own when she represents Queensland at the National competition at Brisbane next week.
The 15-year-old Rockhampton player is making her first appearance in Queensland colours, but will be able to draw from the experience of fellow Rockhampton-based representative Greg Rideout, who is the non-playing team captain.
The vastly experienced Rideout is confident his team, aged between 12 and 17 years, is good enough to do well and also that Konui will play her part in the team.
Having played at the top level himself, Rideout is happy to captain the Queensland team which consists of four girls and four boys.
One area he needs to work is on his players concentration and focus as the youngsters are in for an intense week of darts with competition beginning on Sunday and continuing through to the following Saturday.
Apart from playing in a singles competition, Konui will also participate in doubles, mixed doubles, World Youth Fours and on the final day a Mystery Mixed doubles, where her playing partner will be drawn from all the other competing states.
“We have a very strong side, Queensland is always strong,” Rideout said.
“We were last year’s champion state.”
Having captained Queensland on a multitude of occasions, Rideout knows the secret is ensuring all his team members enjoy the experience of representing their state.
“It is a big week,” he confirmed.
“It is up to me to make sure there is never a dull moment.”
Like others involved in the sport, Rideout hopes the success of Simon Whitlock will create a lot more interest in darts.
“People still refer to it as a pub sport,” he said.
“I believe darts will be a display sport for the London Olympics.”
Whitlock’s success could inspire others to play the game as he has been offered a two-year sponsorship to compete on the lucrative European circuit.
Not that Konui is looking that far ahead; she merely enjoys
playing darts and continuing to improve.
“I’m throwing an average of 13,” she said.
That average for each dart is something Rideout believes she will improve upon during the coming week’s competition.
But what attracted a young female to play darts in the first place?
“I’ve played since I was 11 years old in New South Wales,” she said.
“I first played at a club where my parents used to go which had a junior section.”
Konui is not getting overexcited about playing for Queensland in a National tournament.
“It will be a good experience,” she conceded.
And as for her future in the sport?
“I’ve not set goals, I’m just taking one step at a time,” she stated.