The establishment of the World Disability Darts Association is the end product of a campaign designed to open our sport to players with disability. The endorsement of a lowered board height for wheelchair players was important to us because darts and its well established infrastructure is an ideal environment in which those living with disability can participate. It is a fun and supportive social network, and of all the sports there are none that holds greater potential than darts to improve one's overall feeling of wellbeing long-term.
The gentle physical movement of throwing and retrieving the darts combined with the exciting mental challenges gives a comprehensively beneficial activity that can be played at almost any age and is why promotion is now underway in rehabilitation centres and aged care facilities around the world also. Equipment was designed in 2010 to prove that the ruling could be applied fairly in competition where a wheelchair player and a standing player were competing directly against one another. That year saw the birth of the unique Wildfire137 dart frame which is now appearing in dart venues, competitions and presentations ever since. Its creation has been instrumental in the adoption of the new ruling.
What started as a simple submission to Darts Australia in 2009 based on calculations of a "fair and equivalent" board height for a wheelchair player has now seen its endorsement by our sport's highest administrative body, the World Darts Federation. History will record that on October 8th 2012 in Hull UK the World Darts Federation extended a hand of friendship and support to those living with disability.
In officially sanctioned WDF events the Wildfire137 dart frame concept is required to allow direct competition on the approved lowered board height, but for the vast majority of social players simply mounting a dart board at a height of 137cm to the bullseye centre will enable the enjoyment and challenge of throwing darts, possibly for the first time without the need for any special equipment. Set-up instructions have already been approved for inclusion by companies such a Winmau and Puma within their dartboard packaging and website.
What makes the WDDA unique is its inclusion of a second piece of equipment designed in conjunction with the Wildfire 137 dart frame called The Satellite. The visually striking, magnetic pendulum based activity is capturing the imagination of people around the world for its entrancing action and suitability for use by players with most disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Vision Impairment, and most levels of Quadriplegia. The Satellite table is based on the scoring proportions of a standard dartboard but transposed on to the edge of the 1.2mtr table.
As said previously our grassroots campaign has always been to include those with disability into a supportive social environment and the new ruling that has seen the birth of the WDDA has opened the door for joint events using both pieces of equipment within the same venue. The possibilities for networking of family and carers at our events are huge and each WDDA event will hold a short 30 minute seminar prior to the commencement of play as a means of conveying the opportunities that now exist. We hope those attending will continue with the activities and networking once they return to their homes or to their care facility.
The level of support from those within the darting fraternity has been astoundingly supportive at all levels, from the home players through to world administrators.In the past few months others around the world have taken to promoting the new ruling through the social media and new websites are emerging to facilitate the spread of information and co-ordinate competitions and events.
By all accounts a new wave of greater inclusion is sweeping across the globe spurred by the support and endorsement from companies such as Winmau. The WDDA are supporting the growth of new interest with an accessible Board of Administrators brought together from around the world and contactable through one central communication point. The WDDA Board of Administrators offer their experience and knowledge freely to aid in growth of participation.
WDDA badges and medallions are available for purchase online through this website at greatly discounted prices. This gives even the smallest events in the remotest part of the globe the opportunity to present a prize with the mark of a world organisation
Everyone who has read this article can do something to further the spread of information - simply tell someone about what you now know.
World Disability Darts Association
Disability Support Officer Darts Australia & Winmau
Designer Wildfire137 & The Satellite