We are thrilled to be able to announce Nitin Kumar joins Darts Mad’s team of bloggers. Professional darts player from India Nitin “The Royal Bengal” Kumar has twice competed at the PDC World Championships, most recently losing out to Brendan Dolan at Ally Pally.
Playing on the PDC Asian Tour once again this year (last he year he finished 31st on the Asian Tour order of merit) Nitin will chronicle every tournament he competes in. His blogs here on Darts Mad will take in the entire journey, from preparing to leave for an event all the way through to his return from the events.
In the first of his blogs for Darts Mad Nitin describes this last weekend where he flew from his base in Dubai to compete in the Qatar Darts Open in Doha. As a very welcome coincidence Nitin finished the weekend victorious taking home a nice payday to put towards the first weekend of the 2020 Asian tour which takes place in Seoul, South Korea, Feb29-Mar1.
We hope that you enjoy following his journey on the circuit this year, getting to know more about Nitin himself and the events that take place on the PDC Asian Tour.
Nitin Kumar- Qatar Open 2020
Probation at work seriously is a pain. Since I just started a new job I am not supposed to be taking leave for 6 months according to the UAE law. We have a Friday and Saturday weekend here as opposed to the normal Saturday and Sunday all over the world. The Qatar Open is tomorrow – Friday and I literally have to rush from work to catch my flight so that I can reach as early as possible – earliest being 2am.
Any sleep I get would be golden. It’s funny that the Dubai transport scene is quite amazing but my Salam Air flight is at Terminal 2, which doesn’t have any connectivity to the metro and the only way there is an insanely long bus ride or a taxi – Taxi it is then!! We can’t get Alcohol into Qatar but 400 cigarettes aren’t a problem. Sort of gives you a totally different look at the region.
I’ve lived in Dubai for a third of my life and this is the first time I’m traveling to the region. Right now under scrutiny for a terrorism activities in the Middle East, flying to Qatar is troublesome – no more straight flights like before – we will have to suffice with the 2-5 hour waits via Kuwait or Oman.
I normally don’t get much shuteye in flights. This time it was different, the 50minute flight and a power nap feels like that double espresso in the mornings before entering office. I have a 3hr wait here until my onward flight to Qatar. Can’t take the risk of sleeping here and miss my onward flight so Netflix and the smokers lounge will have to be my BFF’s for the time being. It’s time and I head towards my gate – the flight is delayed by about an hour and these new Vans shoes are killing me. So Alphonse finds his dad at Liore, hmmm. Sorry, Full Metal Alchemist on Netflix – Can’t believe what I’ve missed all these years.
Well it’s time for the flight and I get some amazing sleep again – The stewardess wakes me up to say that we’ve landed and I’m one of the last few still in the plane. I get out and a long walk to the immigration counter welcomes me to Qatar. Did I tell you already that my Vans shoes were killing me? Gnawing on both my big toes like a hamster would on a carrot. Sorry that’s the only thing that came to my head at the time.
Got a cab and reached the hotel late by about 4am. I knew I had to get up by 7:30 to get ready for the day. I do suffer from migraines which has added a new dimension to my life these days. Getting up with one was the fear – lack of sleep generally does that to me.
The alarm rang and I am still wide awake – says something about my bed at home. The migraine was almost at its peak, the slight throbbing at the back of the skull, the irritation to the bright lights and just that immense anger that was building in me because I couldn’t find the plug to charge my phone – yes, the smallest things do piss you off when you have a migraine. Fortunately I did get my meds and I had to pop a pill and in a while it subsided. A hot shower can do an amazing job in lifting the mood. I ironed my clothes and got ready by 9. Went down for some really good breakfast, started listening to some music and a few motivational words from the Black Mamba – RIP. I caught a cab and headed to the venue.
The actual venue wasn’t what I expected, it looked perfect though – a large make shift hall meant for entertainment with 8 boards, a bar to the extreme left and a small stage to the extreme right with posters of Devon Peterson and Jamie Caven from the exhibition they had a night before.
(Devon and Jamie pictured here at the 2019 Qatar Darts Open where they also gave an exhibition)
Little does he know, I’ve been a fan of The African Warrior ever since I saw him on the stage for the first time. I’ve always liked his welcoming personality off the stage and his fighting mentality on it. Add to it the walk on and all you need is a Lazy Boy, a beer and some BBQ Wings for the whole experience. He is must watch TV. Jamie on the other hand, I haven’t seen much – yes, I’ve seen what the man can do in matches and he’s a class act but personally I haven’t ever interacted with him before.
I saw quite a few good players practicing and there were a good number of Women’s players as well. I started playing and through the day the competition only got better. I’m happy with the way I played as I honestly think it was my most consistent day of darts and I did keep to my personal standard which kept my mind in check.
From the Quarterfinal onward, I had really good players come up against me – all players of Filipino descent. Honestly, if I had played them a year back – they would have beaten me. However, at this time, there was no pressure, there was consistency, there were a lot of 180’s, about two every game and there were a lot of high finishes. I was happy.
I played Manny in the Quarterfinals, I beat him 5-1. It was a high scoring affair till about the 4th leg and he dipped quite a bit. I just had to play consistent – something I learned from my loss to Brendan Dolan at the World Championships. In the Semis I played Jivi – a scorer at a high clip that erred on the finish in the third leg to break me and it was smooth sailing from then on. I beat him 5-1 as well.
In the finals I went up against Eric – another great player and the score went with throw till the 4th leg. He was sitting on 20 and I finished a 133 – I could see it hurt him bad. Even though he did play well after that, he lost the bite he had before my finish. I won the game 6-2. All in all, a good day. It was the first time I haven’t had any pressure on me to hit a winning double to win the trophy – Funny how experience helps you.
I met Devon and Jamie along with a few of the tournament officials out to chill after a grueling day. I had a great chat with Devon and he’s given me a few things that I need to work on which I definitely will. I got back to the hotel at about 2:30 am and with an afternoon flight at 2pm I gleamed at the possibility of getting 8 hours of sleep. I put an alarm for 10:30. I slept like a baby and got up at 7:30. Yea, just pisses you off really. Well a hot shower can change that. I tried to get an Instagram video done thanking my sponsors and the organizers of the tournament – I’m lucky I have people who tell me when I look knackered and give me an honest opinion of my skills in front of the camera. And that’s the reason you haven’t seen an embarrassing video of mine on Instagram lately.
So I saw a little more Netflix, headed to the airport, left my darts in the hand baggage by mistake which delayed the flight departure by a bit – Yes, I’m guilty. And I reached back Dubai by about 9pm.
Reflecting back – I am content that I had game where I averaged close to or more than a 100 and I didn’t drop off a lot. I know that whatever work I’ve been putting in is working and my mental approach to a day of darts is on the right path. It’s something that will assist me at the PDC Asian Tour this year. Oh, while we are on that topic – PDC Asian Tour 1&2 will be held at Seoul, South Korea on Feb 29th and March 1st. See you then, Cheers!!
(Images Qatar Darts Open and featured image L. Lustig PDC)