Jiwa Ready for Second Attempt at the World Darts Championship
You certainly can’t accuse the World Darts Championship of not living up to its global moniker. Impressively, at least 25 different nationalities will be represented at the 2024 edition of the showpiece tournament.
One place in the draw is ringfenced for an Indian player: Prakash Jiwa, the 53-year-old who was so close to springing a huge upset in the last tournament. Can he go one better in 2024?
What Might Have Been
Those who enjoy placing a casual darts bet or two will no doubt be aware of how much an outside Jiwa is to progress at the tournament.
As it stands, the betting markets for World Darts odds are indicative of a player who doesn’t possess a PDC tour card – at 1000/1, he’s considered an almighty underdog behind the likes of Michael van Gerwen (4/1), Gerwyn Price (5/1) and defending champion Michael Smith (7/1). But the Indian almost pulled off a coup by beating Madars Razma at the Worlds last December; making life very difficult for the former World Grand Prix quarter-finalist, who’s currently ranked 32nd in the PDC.
Jiwa had darts to win the first set, took the second and then could have won the third too; missing more crucial darts that would have taken him 2-1 up in a race to three.
Those missed opportunities would come back to haunt Jiwa as his Latvian opponent pinched set three and then capitalised on the momentum to win the fourth – sealing a 3-1 victory and depriving Jiwa of a second-round meeting with former world champion Gary Anderson.
Ultimately, the game offered a timely reminder of Jiwa’s talents. He’s a force to be reckoned with, who once took Van Gerwen all the way to a deciding leg in a Players Championship quarter-final back in 2012. Not only this, but Jiwa is renowned having beaten five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in another Pro Tour game in 2014.
You can find out who Jiwa will play in the first round of the 2024 Worlds when the draw is made in December.
Knocking on the Door
India has been guaranteed an entry into the World Championship ever since an expansion of the tournament in 2019, which saw more entries handed out to nations around the globe. But qualification is fierce, with a bracket draw event featuring the best Indian players culminating in a best-of-11 legs final, which Jiwa won 6-1 this year at the expense of Bhaval Patel.
In recent years, India’s sole representative at the Worlds has been Nitin Kumar, who flew the flag in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Unfortunately, though, he lost his first-round game on all three occasions, but took three legs off the talented Jeffrey de Zwaan on his debut and averaged a highly competitive 90.14 in defeat to Brendan Dolan a year later.
In 2021, the baton was passed to Amit Gilitwala, a former Indian champion who has represented the country at the PDC World Cup with Kumar. He took on Steve West at the Alexandra Palace, performing well in the second set in particular. However, some silly moves saw him defeated.
Indian players have been knocking on the door at the World Darts Championship. Can Jiwa claim that elusive win this December?