United Kingdom | Darts prodigy at 16, Luke Littler creates sensation

(London) At only 16 years old and without giving up his teenage lifestyle, between late mornings, video games and kebabs, Luke Littler created a sensation and won the hearts of his compatriots by reaching the final of the world championship darts, a very British passion.


Having become in a few days the new star of the favorite game of British pubs, whose competitions are mainly followed in the Anglo-Saxon world, he lost 7-4 on Wednesday evening against the best player in the world, Luke Humphries, in the supercharged atmosphere of Alexandra Palace in London.

But the teenager from the north of England, the youngest finalist in the history of the competition, completely eclipsed his compatriot on the front pages of the newspapers and in the hearts of the British – darts fans or not – who took of passion for this new prodigy.

A sign of the interest generated, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak posted a message on social networks on Wednesday to salute “the incredible final of a historic championship”.

Luke Littler, who will soon be 17, but looks much older with his beard, his voice and his build, ranked only 164e world before the championship. He had played only a handful of professional matches before qualifying for the final on Tuesday, beating former world champion Rob Cross and astounding fans with his skill and precision.

During these tournaments with a crazy atmosphere, with a costumed and abundantly alcoholic audience, the young shooter also overthrew his childhood hero, the Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld, one of the only players to have been crowned champion five times. of the world.

“Much stronger”

Unknown to the general public until then, the prodigy in the yellow and purple polo shirt became a superstar in the United Kingdom in the space of a few days with his humor and his way of life the antithesis of that of a professional sportsman, but faithful to that of a 16 year old teenager.

“I don’t get up before noon, I eat my cheese and ham omelette, then a pizza and I train,” between two games of XBox, he told the press.

A resident of Warrington, in the northwest of England, Luke “The Nuke” (the atomic bomb, Editor’s note), whose matches were widely broadcast on British television channels, attracted the sympathy of many athletes and now has almost 500,000 followers on Instagram.

“At ten years old, he was already much stronger” than other young people his age, recalled his former coach at the St Helens darts academy, Karl Holden, in a BBC interview.

Impressively calm during his matches, Luke Littler, who threw his first dart at the age of 18 months, quickly left the junior categories to play in the under-21 category.

PHOTO KIN CHEUNG, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Luke Littler

Faced with rumors regarding his age, some British media went so far as to publish photos of his birth certificate, confirming that Luke Littler was indeed born on January 21, 2007.

After obtaining the equivalent of the French certificate this summer, the teenager, who is not yet of legal age to play in pubs and is already a double junior world champion, began to devote himself full time to darts.

He won the sum of 200,000 pounds (231,000 euros) on Wednesday at the end of his journey.

But he has already made it known that he would not change his life, and would always settle for “a kebab and a can of Tango” (soft drink, Editor’s note) after a victory.

However, he missed the opportunity to win free sandwiches for life, which a London fast food restaurant had promised to offer him in the event of his coronation on Wednesday.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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