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John Part aka Darth Maple

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John Part was destined to play darts. Born on the 180th day of 1966 in Toronto, Canada, John had the early indications of a career as a darts champion. At the age of five John was struck by a dart from the neighbour’s yard while playing catch with his father. There had been a large brick wall between yards with a board mounted on the other side. The neighbour’s reckless children threw one over the wall, and it struck John in the shoulder, like a bolt from the blue.

It would be five years later at the age of ten, while on vacation with his parents in Barbados, that John would encounter his first real dart board. At a British styled pub, the Rosebank Inn, John had a chance to throw his first darts. He was fascinated with the difficulty of the game.

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John travels 140,000 miles a year to quench his thirst for darts. He has twice been crowned World Champion but that isn’t enough for this classy Canadian. John Part believes he is still to reach his peak and he is driven by a desire to succeed.

Darts is a drug for Part but now it is time to get serious, as he bids to win the major titles his talent surely deserves.

He has been a great ambassador for Team Unicorn around the world and the man who has beaten Phil Taylor more than anyone else in major tournaments, is aiming high over the next 18 months.

The Canadian got the better of ‘The Power’ again at the 2005 World Matchplay Championships but then lost to another Team Unicorn star Colin Lloyd in the final.

“Boy, was that frustrating. After that defeat, I knew that I had to start changing one or two things.”

Part believes he has found the formula to achieve those goals. “The key is fitness and less travelling, concentration and practice,” he said.

He flies from his Canadian base in Oshawa to Britain about 15 times a year. That many 20 hour round trips are bound to have an effect.

“I am going to pick and choose my tournaments now,” he revealed. “From 2007, the PDC ranking points system will be replaced by an order of merit. The list of the world’s elite will be decided by how much each player earns. It means I don’t have to chase ranking points but it also means I have to perform well in the big tournaments.”

“It’s all about being better prepared,” he added. “I need to get fitter and lose some weight and get to these major championships better prepared. There is no doubt the travelling takes its toll but that is my choice to stay home, rather than set up a base in the UK.”

It was Christmas 1987 when John Part realised darts was going to be his chosen career path. He was given a dart board by his parents and caught the bug!

He found a pub in Toronto – ironically called ‘The Unicorn’ – and success soon followed. He won his first title in 1991 at the Syracuse Open and two years later, Part was Canada’s No.1 player.

The fairytale continued as an unknown Canadian came to Britain to have a crack at the World Championships. By the end of that week in 1994, Part had become part of darting folklore.

This was his first appearance in front of the TV cameras and he produced perfect darts to become the first overseas World Champion – whitewashing fans favourite Bobby George in the final.

“The whole week was a blur,” he admitted. “I did play really well but it was an amazing experience.”

The name of John Part has been at the top of the darting tree ever since

In 1997, Part made the switch to the PDC and reached another World Championship Final in 2001. That night, he ran into Team Unicorn’s Phil Taylor at his very very best. ‘The Power’ averaged 107 in the match and Part could only watch and learn.

He only had to wait two years for revenge and a 2nd World Championship. It was one of the most thrilling finals ever seen. Part triumphed 7 sets to 6 to become only the second man, after Dennis Priestley, to beat Taylor at the Circus Tavern.

In 2004, he was named the official World No.1 and more major finals followed. But Part is still annoyed and frustrated that he has lost all of them!

“I keep beating Phil in the big TV tournaments but fail to finish the job and that is going to change because I feel I haven’t reached my peak.”

Part has lost finals at the World Grand Prix to Taylor, the World Matchplay to Taylor and Colin Lloyd, the Las Vegas Desert Classic to Peter Manley and the UK Open, where he was beaten by Roland Scholten.

“People only judge you on performances and results and I need to be tasting that winning feeling a lot more!”

Part has also become an accomplished darts commentator but his big passion away from the sport is internet poker!

He explained: “Believe it or not, it is quite relaxing. I have become pretty good and enjoy the fight. Not so long ago, I won a poker tournament on the internet which was worth $15,000!”

The big aim though, remains another World Championship. Part would love to emulate Team Unicorn’s John Lowe by winning World Titles in three different decades. He will have to keep performing at the highest level for at least another five years to achieve that!

But he isn’t prepared to wait that long. “I have the desire and I know I have the game,” he said. “If I can stay focused and competitive, I can beat anyone and it would be magical to bring Canada and Unicorn another World Championship at The Circus Tavern.”

You wouldn’t bet against John joining that World Championship Part-y!

 

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