sport

Darts must wait for Olympics shot

Darts would not be able to become an Olympic sport until 2024 at the earliest, the International Olympic Committee have confirmed.

Former Team GB director of elite sport Sir Clive Woodward has backed darts' claim to Olympic status but it is not even on the list of sports recognised by the IOC yet.

First it would have to achieve that recognition and then apply to be on the programme for future Olympics - the earliest being 2024. Seven sports including squash, karate and baseball/softball are bidding to be part of the 2020 Games with a decision being taken by the IOC Session in September.

An IOC spokesman said: "Any sport can apply for recognition, and then they would have to apply to be on the programme - the next opportunity would be 2024."

After watching Phil Taylor clinch his 16th PDC World Championship on Tuesday night, Woodward tweeted: "Darts definitely an Olympic sport - look at fans, TV coverage, audience and real skill under pressure."

Taylor himself added: "I think we've got every chance of being an Olympic sport and, if they did put us in, I know they'd sell a lot of tickets and the atmosphere would be fantastic."

Barry Hearn, chairman of the PDC, said: "It's a compliment that the sport should be taken seriously at last and the snobbishness that has spoiled the perception of darts has finally been defeated."