No more pub sport for a long time!

No more pub sport for a long time!

Made Hungarian sports history at the WDF World Championships.

For more than four decades, the legendary Lakeside Country Club of Freely Green has hosted the Lakeside WDF World Championships, competing with some of the best dart players in the world – mainly from England, Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands. Mecca of Darts has been open to women only since 2001. Last year, Veronica Ihas was the first Hungarian to win the right to start, and soon left a lasting impression.

During my visit to the Győr Darts Club, I met a young woman who had been a member there since 2007. There are only a handful of dart players in the training room, throwing their arrows and darts at the classic sisal discs. There is a concentrated calm, and only the pop of the hits can be heard. Veronica leads me to a room called VIP, which looks like a cafe with a few darts hanging on it.

I’m sure you’ve heard the first question that comes to mind countless times: How does a young woman come to prove herself in this male-dominated sport that is still generally considered a pub sport?

She laughs: Yes, it really started when I went to a pub with friends. In fact, I thought it would be foolish to pay to lose your points as quickly as possible. However, I persuaded myself to try a few throws, which of course went completely wrong, especially causing a lot of laughter among my friends. Well, let me show you, I thought to myself and started throwing discs, initially for fun and entertainment. Slowly I started to like it, I enjoyed it more and more, and when I had to give up the game of handball due to various injuries, this sport with less physical difficulty suited me well.

Centralized training activities at Győr Darts Club. Photo: Győr + Media / Tamás cs

How long have you been playing and training regularly?

I have been a member of the Győr Darts Club since 2007, a small amateur club with a total of 15 members, two of whom are women. We have a family atmosphere, we support each other, so from the beginning I felt like I was in good hands. Since 2011 I have only been doing regular training, i.e. two training sessions per week.

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Since then it has gradually improved and I have been able to establish myself as one of the most successful dart players in the Eastern European region by participating in numerous international tournaments. By the end of 2021, I had earned the right to start at the World Championships at Lakeside, finishing third at the Czech Open. That alone was a success for me personally and the Hungarian Darts Federation. The World Cup, scheduled for December 2021, had to be postponed due to an epidemic, and finally took place in early April this year.

How did you feel as the first Hungarian to attend a World Cup, and what were your expectations when you flew to England?

It was a roller coaster of indescribable emotions. At first I was terribly nervous, but then I was able to overcome my fear of big names, because even the best are human, and they make mistakes, and they are not even invincible. I had no expectations, and after all, I had no goals in terms of placement, I just wanted to play well in every match and do my best. It was incredibly good that my team was there to comfort me and support me.

The surprise and joy about your 9th place was excellent accordingly. You could claim remarkable success and an amazing record. How did that happen?

In the match against Paula Murphy, the American who is ranked 15th in the world, I handled a whitewash, i.e. a clean sheet, after which I was incredibly proud and shed a few tears of joy. Despite the subsequent 2-1 defeat against Englishman Beau Greaves, I can call my performance in the World Cup a victory, as I was ranked 28th in the world and only defeated by the sixth best player in the world.

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Disc which means darts world. Photo: Győr + Media / Tamás cs

The positive side of this match was my check-out at 164, which means I was able to finish the leg with three super throws. So my name is the highest finish in the Lakeside Women’s competition. Even the English commentators were excited about it, they were above the moon. Of course, I received compliments from home and the flood of messages almost smashed my smartphone. But the biggest feeling of happiness was the reception at home: the association, the club, my family, everyone came to greet me at the airport, and it was great.

How do you match training, work, and family life?

This is a small rope step, but my family supports me in every way. My husband is also a darts player and is my coach so we can take turns training and looking after our three year old son. When we go to competitions together, I can always count on my parents, and it works great. My employer is very accommodating and I always take time off for competitions so I do not have to give up my vacation so I can count myself lucky. My superiors and co-workers have been pointing fingers at me, supporting me, and they all really understand.

“It’s all about the right swing and the right path.” Photo: Győr + Media / Tamás cs

How should the average person imagine the stage of preparation for a competition?

Since there is not much free time, we focus on mental training before competitions. We play with different legs and practice the optimal sequence of throws. We discuss different situations that I did not solve enough last time, what I should do differently and better in the upcoming competition. Concentration exercises are essential because during the competition you need to be very careful to plan the following throws at lightning speed based on the number of points thrown. Darts require not only skill, but also mental strength and a certain amount of mathematical ability.

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What do you want for your sporting future?

I really hope that my current success will increase the popularity of darts in Hungary and increase the public interest. The Hungarian Darts Federation is relatively small, so it would be good if the number of players gradually increased and the quality of the competition increased. I have been training with men for a long time and competing nationally in men’s competitions. I want to have more opportunities to compete against the best darts players in the world in international competitions so that I can continue to develop through experience and challenges.

“Darts require not only skill, but also mental strength and a certain amount of mathematical ability.” Photos: Győr + Media / Tamás cs

What are the major competitions coming up in the near future?

I always focus on the next event, the European Darts Championships currently taking place in Benidom, Spain in mid-June. Two of us from Győr Darts Club have been nominated for this event. My goal is to play better than the World Cup in England. Experiences from my losing game give me the motivation I need. With more success I hope to make this particular sport more popular in Hungary and inspire more women for darts.

More information about Hungarian darts can be found here: / /

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