The first professional tournament hosted in South Africa by SAPDO was held in the Portlands Community Hall, Cape Town, Mitchells Plain, on the 13th December 2008. The winner of this competition was Grant Sampson (R8000), Runner up Nolan Arendse (R3000) and Semi-finalists Devon Petersen and Jason Erasmus both pocketing R1500 each. Grant beat Devon and Nolan beat Jason in their respective semi-finals. There were other prizes up for grabs and this was the start of the professional darts scene in South Africa.
Grant was a worthy champion on the day. He succeeded by taking out top players on the day. Amongst his victims were Devon Petersen and Charles Losper. He took Nolan out 4-3 in the final coming from behind with some power darts. Great darts on the day and a great achievement. Well done Grant you will be etched in history as SAPDO's first tournament winner.
Nolan drove down from Saldanha (180km) to attend the tournament. He played good darts on the day and but fell short at the finish line. He beat the reigning SA Champion Jason Erasmus in the semi-final in a tight contest. Great achievement for the first SAPDO tournament.
The organisation started off with 60 plus members and entry into the first competition was 30 plus entries on the day. Players came from across the Western Cape as far as Saldanha and Paarl to participate. It was a momentous occasion with all the top players at the time giving it their best.
SAPDO forged good relations with the amateur body, DSA and their President, Mr. Graham Starke. All the players were still members of DSA and it was agreed with Graham that players could play in both codes until SAPDO has reached full professional status and that we respect each others sporting codes. Graham conducted the presentation of the prize money and voiced his appreciation of the two sporting codes working together.
Somewhere along the line the relationship soured as Graham was not happy that SAPDO was supporting the PDC and other international bodies. Graham's view is that the PDC is a business and exploits the talent world wide. SAPDO and its members are of a completely different view point and we acknowledge the PDC as the governing body for professional darts world wide. The opportunities given to top players were non-existent until the arrival of the PDC in 2006. Players won places in the PDC World Championships, good prize money was up for grabs up to the top 16 places at the SA PDC masters. Top players eyes were opened by the restrictions and suspensions that took place in later years and the relationship finally broke down in 2012.
SAPDO continues to grow despite the victimizing, banning, suspensions or whatever it be named. Not allowing players to earn a living or the opportunity too, is a cardinal sin that South Africans can definitely identify with, especially considering the sport is played mostly by the working class.
Click read more below to view some of the pictures on the day. Please note the quality is not good. Have a closer look at the young Devon Petersen and Charl Pietersen.