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'Surreal': Local student aims to hit the bull's-eye at worlds

'I was really surprised because I did not think I was going to do as well as I did,' says 13-year-old who is Canada's top-ranked dart player in his age group
Local darts star Ben Goddard is set to compete at the Junior World Championships in Gibraltar this week.

A Cumberland Beach youth has become one of the best young darts players in Canada — almost overnight.

Ben Goddard, 13, broke his leg in September 2022 playing tag at Severn Shores Public School during recess.

While he was bored at home recovering, he decided to make use of his family's dartboard, which unlocked a hidden talent. He started competing with his father Brandon, who had been playing for most of his life and plays competitively in a dart league in Barrie.

After a few months of playing at home, Goddard began playing on the weekends all over North America on the Junior Darts Corporation tour. After his first full season, Goddard ranks first in Canada and fourth on the continent for his age group. 

"Right away I was beating most of the kids who have been playing darts their whole lives," Goddard said. "I was really surprised because I did not think I was going to do as well as I did."

Goddard says the sport is relaxing for him, but he also relishes those moments when the pressure is on.

"It's really fun to play and to have good competition," he said. "I love when the pressure is going and I have to win the game with the dart."

To be the best darts player in Canada for his age group, Goddard says it's "surreal."

"It feels awesome just thinking about it," he said. "It's really great."

Goddard says he is considering making a career out of his talent with darts.

"That's my goal," he said. "I want to play with all the big names in the Professional Darts Corporation when I grow up."

While he is currently dominating the competition in Canada, Goddard says he has a long way to go if he wants to reach the highest professional level one day.

"I have to improve my game to get my tour card one day," he said.

Goddard is set to compete in the Junior World Championships in Gibraltar, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom near Spain, starting on Thursday.

"I want to do my best to try to win," he said. "It is only my first year so I'm mainly going for the experience."

Goddard says he has been well supported by his parents, grandmother, and classmates during his young journey.

"Everyone is excited for me," he said. "It's a really great feeling."

Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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