Tomoya Goto and Dolreich Tongcopanon raring to go as World Youth Championship takes place in Wigan
After coming through qualifiers held across the Asian continent, the Philippines’ Dolreich Tongcopanon and Japan’s Tomoya Goto will take part in Monday’s World Youth Championship at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.
The prestigious youth tournament consists of 96 prodigiously-talented youngsters – who have earned their spot following either national qualifying success or thanks to their consistency on the Development Tour.
Tomoya Goto will make his second World Youth Championship appearance, while General Santos City’s Dolreich Tongcopanon is preparing for his debut.
Goto, 23, began playing darts as a high school student, and plays in several leagues across his hometown of Tokyo.
“Unfortunately I lost in the round robin stage last year,” the Japanese ace said. “I hope I can win more matches with my game, which I’ve worked on so much since last year’s defeat. I think my past experiences will help me as well.”
He added: “Last year’s World Youth Championship was an incredible experience filled with new inspiration and gutted feelings. I think all of what I experienced in England has improved my current status as a darts player.”
Despite the 12-time Development Tour event winner Ted Evetts, Max Hopp, Luke Humphries and the like being among those involved in Wigan, the Japanese youth champion has his sights firmly set on lifting that elusive trophy.
“Being able to execute what I have done over the years is the key to becoming the world youth champion. I’m not going to England to lose, but to win. I’m always making sure I can vision myself as a winner.
“If I can win the PDC World Youth Championship and participate in the PDC World Championship, that alone will be an astonishing establishment. I can’t imagine how much that will impact myself.”
If Goto was to upset the odds and reign victorious at the World Youth Championship, becoming the first Asian winner of a PDC event in doing so, he would be one step further in fulfilling his aspirations.
“It will be a dream come true to make a living out of darts, which I love so much,” the 23-year-old proclaimed. “I know that’s not an easy way of living, but I want to be a kind of player who people can always cheer for, and watch me play with expectations. If I can keep on playing like that, I think my success will come along as well.
“Being supported by Target Sports Japan, and being able to participate in Perfect, which I think is the best professional soft-tip tour, and being supported by my home shop, other players, and fans…it all adds up to who I am right now.
“I am so happy and looking forward to my participation in the PDC World Youth Championship as the winner of the PDJ Youth Championship. I will prepare so I can perform at my best, and bring good news to the current and future youth players of Japan.”
As for Dolreich Tongcopanon, he will head to England for the first time, having been crowned the Asian youth champion a matter of weeks ago.
“The Asian qualifier was so tough and it will be even more tougher in the World Youth Championship for me so I have to prepare and put in more hours of practice,” said the Filipino.
“I definitely believe that I can win at the World Youth Championship. It’s a big honour for me because I will represent my country.”
The 24-year-old has produced glimpses of excellence on the PDC Asian Tour, despite having only appeared on two occasions. A quarter-final run came in the penultimate PDC Asian Tour event of the year for Tongcopanon – where he was defeated by eventual champion, Seigo Asada.
He added: “I’ve played on the Asian Tour twice and the it’s given the Asian players a lot of experience, especially me as a Filipino and a young darter in Asia.”
Goto and Tongcopanon will be joined by fellow Asian representatives, China’s Xiaochen Zong and India’s Sarthak Patel, in the £60,000 event.
It will be a fascinating spectacle in Wigan on Monday, and it’s unquestionably not beyond the realms of possibilities that we could see an Asian finalist in Minehead come the end of November.