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Teenage dart-throwing sensation from N.S. heads to World Masters competition
14-year-old Emily Alford of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia isn't old enough to play darts in the bars, but she is skilled enough to take on the world.
Alford ranked in the top-16 at the World Cup of Darts in Romania earlier in October and on Tuesday, she'll fly to England for the Winmau World Masters.
"When kids are younger, and they see firefighters, and they look up to them, and they're like ‘That's something I want to be someday,’— I guess darts was kind of that thing for me."
When it comes to her success, Alford’s parents like to think it was written in the stars.
"When the wife and I got together, she played in a mixed Monday night league in Sackville and on one of our first dates, I picked her up from work, and I said ‘What are we doing tonight,’” says father, John Alford. “She said ‘Well I play darts. I'm going to go out tonight and if you want to come tonight, feel free. If not, I'll see you tomorrow.’"
From there, destiny took its course. Alford picked up her first dart when she was seven-years-old and hasn't looked back since. However, she says becoming a dart champ at a young age didn't come without its challenges.
"My height, when I was younger, was a bit more difficult because I was fairly short when I was younger,” says Alford. “I couldn't even reach the three on the board, so I ended up always having people grab my darts for me.”
Fortunately, her circumstances levelled out, and as she grew taller and Alford adjusted her throw to complement her height.
Her father says it's hard to put into words how proud he and his wife, Krista, are of their daughter.
"’Astounding’ is really the best word to describe it,” says Alford. “I would never have thought that she would be at this point in her young life – and young darting career."
Meanwhile, the 14-year-old dart-throwing sensation is warming up and preparing to beat her record in England.
"My goal is to make it further than I did last time, so I'm hoping for at least top-eight,” says Alford. “But also, I'm just going to learn as much as I can while I'm there because you learn just as much by watching all these players and playing and practicing with them."
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau