Gabriel Pascaru: how ‘Gabos’ placed Romanian darts on the map via Hungary, Russia and Ukraine
Romanian darts is making mountainous headway. The patent blue, yellow and red colours recently emerged in the Indigo at The O2 crowd, with the history-making Gabriel Pascaru waving their flag at the BDO World Championship.
Having discovered the sport at a mountain hotel and soon after coming across the renowned Federatia Romana de Darts – or the Romanian Darts Federation as they are also known, Piatra Neamt-based Pascaru announced his presence to the world with a rendition of John Michael-esque Eastern European dancing.
His paramount exhilaration and eagerness was apparent as he cavorted excitedly about the stage, though, a solid showing on the dartboard followed with the Romanian becoming embroiled in a closely-contested affair with Somerset’s Justin Hood.
He may have walked away from the prestigious tournament without a victory, however, Pascaru had carved an unprecedented slice of history before even toeing the oche in London.
“I am glad because at O2, although I lost, I managed to produce a game quite close to the game I practice at home,” he said.
“I had the opportunity to train and talk to the top players on the BDO circuit, even though I already knew most of them. I would like to congratulate Wayne [Warren] again on the exceptional result.”
Pascaru added: “I am the first Romanian to participate in the BDO World Championship, and I am sure that this performance will be repeated again this year, if not from me, I am sure that the other boys participating in the circuit can do it.
“It is normal to aim above and wish me to be the first player from Romania to make the step in the PDC. That is why I attended Q School where I finished 31st with eight points – which was good for me as it was my first participation.”
Shortly after his World Championship debut, Pascaru would be attempting to rub shoulders with the sport’s superlative once again. He was one of two throwers of Romanian descent to saunter through the doors of European Qualifying School in Hildesheim, Germany.
A decision that could have been settled to some extent courtesy of the ongoing problems and controversial issues within the BDO at this present time. Those who participated in January’s flagship tournament are still unsure as to when – or even if – they will receive their designated share of the prize fund.
Pascaru said: “I have watched with sadness what is happening now at the BDO and I hope that the best choice is made in order to increase the level of the players and bring them as close as possible to the PDC.
“I will continue to play in the tournaments organised by the BDO and WDF, and in parallel, I will go to the European Tour qualifiers and hopefully participate in some Challenge Tour events.”
Following his Q School exploits, the 34-year-old returned to his Piatra Neamt home, before embarking on a roughly four-and-a-half hour journey from his residence to Bucharest.
The annual Romanian Darts Festival would be his subsequent destination – a tournament in which he has yielded mixed results from.
“Although I have participated many times in the Romanian Darts Festival, I have not managed a better ranking than fifth place,” he expressed ahead of the weekend.
“This year, considering that I come after the World Championship at the O2 and Q School – where I played a lot of darts at a good level, I hope I can it do a better job.
“I hope with all my soul to get to play on the stage in Bucharest.”
Pascaru and his doubles partner Adrian Frim embarked on a run to the final of Friday’s pairs tournament, though, ‘Gabos’ was unfortunately unsuccessful in reaching the staged rounds or receiving too much success in the singles competitions.
His compatriots Frim and Laszlo Kadar reached the semi-finals of the Romanian International Open, with Kadar progressing to the final and eventually losing out at the hands of the scintillating Welshman, Nick Kenny.
“I could say that Romania is very good at organising the events in the first place,” said Pascaru. “You can seen how many players the two competitions attract in Bucharest, and what to say about organising the WDF World Cup in Cluj – which was a real success.
“Those in charge of the Romanian Darts Federation are really good at this, although they make considerable efforts to succeed.
“The level of the darts in Romania is constantly increasing at a global level I would say, but unfortunately sponsors are missing and this fails to attract many new players.”
Despite the Romanian double-header being one of his favourite weekends of the darting calendar for obvious reasons, the 34-year-old created history through a handful of other destinations.
He throws the vast majority of his darts in his native country, however, Russia, Hungary and Ukraine were essential in the Romanian number one securing his BDO World Championship debut and in doing so writing his name in the history books.
“I wanted to take it step-by-step and participate in as many tournaments even if they are not the right ones,” said Pascaru. “It seems that it was a wise choice that brought me results and gave me confidence for the future.”
Pascaru will once again be vying to earn World Championship qualification this year, as will a number of other players of Romanian descent. Will the blue, yellow and red of Romania re-emerge on our television screens come January? Only time will tell.
Photography by Chris Sargeant/TipTopPics