DARTS, the age old indoor sport, is back with a bang. The sport, which was once the darling of entertainment spots' revellers in the country prior to seeing its popularity wane in favour of pool, is now slowly regaining its lost glory.
And, it is nothing but concerted efforts by the very darts lovers that has helped it occupy a place among active indoor sports in the country at present.
Although the number of darts clubs and participants at present can not be compared to that of other indoor sports in the country, the sport's increasing fanaticism is obvious.
Darts players' delight at getting the opportunity to aim darts at a dartboard, whether is during training or competitions, is second to none.
Their passion for the sport could be likened to a toddler's delight at having the opportunity to learn to walk.
It is a sport that has proved to have the ability to easily win a sports lover's heart once he or she gets to learn it.
And, yes...darts is no longer a male-dominated sport as evidenced by an encouraging number of female players in several tournaments being staged in the country, including the Safari Lager national darts championships.
The competitions have proved that women are as well avid darts followers whose enthusiasm in the sport can hardly be differentiated with the men's.
Darts,moreover, is a sport whose enthusiasm has not been limited to Dar es Salaam residents.
The huge number of participating players from several regions across the country during national championships prove beyond doubt that darts is a sport played everywhere in the country.
Darts, however, still carries a stark contrast with other indoor sports played in entertainment spots including pool, snooker and table tennis in that it is mainly a sport involving middle aged and old members of the society.
It is a group of people who frequent entertainment joints for a sip at frothy liquids that has easily been glued to the sport.
There is extremely a few number of youths playing the sport and the situation is greatly contributed by the location of the venues hosting the sport, which is mainly in entertainment joints.
Darts' resurgence in the country in the past few years calls for effective promotion of the sport at the junior level with a view to making it a game that can win honours for the country at the most
There is a great need for darts lovers to attract more youngsters into the sport and set up strong junior development programmes that could then produce winners in regional and international competitions.
A section of darts players, however, feel effective promotion of the sport is something they would like to deal with bit by bit.
"We hope successful organization of darts competitions at our club will entice the sport's lovers and firms to sponsor more competitions which will in turn help promote the sport," says Upanga Darts Club (UDC) secretary Bharat Vyas.
Vyas believes the increasing interest in darts among local players will form a good basis for effective promotion of the sport at the junior level.
"More competitions and media coverage will attract more players into darts, a move that will eventually pull the younger generation into the sport," he says.
The darts fraternity has every reason to go for serious promotion of the sport at the grassroots level to increase the country's chances of emerging as a successful nation in different sports disciplines.
The current group of aging players must surely be replaced by young players at some point in future otherwise darts will be doomed to failure.
The darts fraternity indeed needs influential members of the society like ministers, Members of Parliament and businessmen to help them realize their desire to make darts a favourite sport in the country.
For aspiring young darts players, there is always plenty of advice from senior players which will inspire them to go all out in search of success in darts.
Aga Khan Sports Club (AKSC) darts skipper Alikhan Wallani, who has emerged champion in numerous competitions in the past competitions, believes it is nothing but regular practice that will help young players excel in darts for a long time.
"Practice makes perfect. Practising regularly has gone a long way to boost my competence in darts and help me prevail in tough competitions," he says.
Wallani is one of a handful of senior darts players who have already shown interest in training local youngsters and mould a group of determined young players who can make Tanzania a proud nation in the sport.
Tremendous success that Wallani has attained in darts, moreover, is set to be a useful inspiration to youngsters who will in turn seek to emulate him.
Promotion of darts at the grassroots level, all in all, should truly occupy the minds of members of the local darts fraternity as it gears up for a successful spell in the East Africa championships to start with.