The World Series of Darts roadshow rolls into China this week for the second edition of the Shanghai Darts Masters, which takes place at the Pullman Hotel.
As is the norm, Michael van Gerwen is an overwhelming favourite to defend the title he won last year, when he beat James Wade 8-3 in the final.
Outside of the eight seeded players, invites were extended to veteran darting legend Paul Lim, Hong Kong’s Royden Lam, Japanese thrower Haruki Muramatsu and Korean soft tip specialist Hyun Chul Park.
Finally, hoping not to purely make up the numbers will be four local players drawn from today’s qualifying event.
We all know the strengths of the seeded players, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to talk to Korea’s darting hero Hyun Chul.
Those of you that follow soft tip darts will be very familiar with him. For many, though, Hyun Chul will not be so well known.
Hyun Chul is a major player in the world of soft tip, last year getting to the final of the Dartslive Grand Final, and as he gets ready to make his debut in the World Series of Darts tomorrow he spoke to me about his preparations for the event.
“I am practicing five hours of steel tip darts every day,” he said. “I watch many PDC games (to help with my counting) and practice what I see.”
Hyun Chul has been drawn against the sport’s most successful ever player, 16-time world champion Phil Taylor, in the draw for the first round today, an opportunity which he may not have even thought possible when he first discovered darts.
“I started to play darts when I was 27. One day, the place I used to work at got a darts machine and I played for fun with a co-worker,” he said.
“I represented Korea at the Asia Pacific Cup in 2010, and this year I’ve qualified for the Shanghai Darts Masters.”
Thank you to SungBae Choi for interpreting this interview with Hyun Chul.