Earlier this week, I was joined by the Dutch teenage sensation, and back-to-back Lakeside World Youth Champion Justin van Tergouw in an exclusive interview.
The 18-year old from Utrecht has been stunning darts fans since his early teenage years, as he dominated the youth darts scene over the past couple of years.
Van Tergouw picked up his first international mens title as he saw off the back-to-back Lakeside World Champion Glen Durrant to claim the Belgium Masters title in a two sets-to-one victory.
Hi, Justin. Thanks for dropping by. After a frustrating period through injury hows your 2018 going?
“It’s going okay. I go to the gym twice a week, and I go to physiopherapy twice a week. I do it so that I can get stronger and fitter.”
Just how much did you enjoy your back-to-back victories at Lakeside to be crowned the Lakeside World Youth Champion for the second time?
“I was over the moon, and I couldn’t believe I did it two years on-the-spin. I was very happy the way I played this year.”
There were some great finishes in that particular final against Ireland’s Killian Heffernan. As Killian kicked things off with a 156, the finishes of 170, 132, 131 & 100 must’ve been extremely satisfying to produce darts of the highest quality on the big stage.
“Yes, I was very happy with my game, and with my finishes. I think it’s one of the best matches i’ve ever played on stage.”
At youth level, you picked up every single title that was available to you, just how much did you enjoy travelling around Europe and facing some of Europe’s best young players?
“I enjoyed it very much. I hope I can do the same in the mens competition. And, I don’t mind the travelling at all.”
The German Open win back in 2016 must stick in your mind well. That 147 finish was superb to edge out Rusty-Jake Rodriguez in that great final.
“Yes, it was a great final against my good friend Rusty-Jake. It was a great match from the both of us.”
Just how much have you enjoyed playing on the PDC Development Tour, Justin?
“I really enjoy the Development Tour. As you mention it, I’m playing the next series of DT events this weekend in Peterborough.”
Have you set yourself any particular targets for the rest of the year, is PDC European Qualifying School an option for you in January?
“I haven’t set myself any real targets, because this is my first year in the mens competition. I’m still thinking about going to PDC Qualifying-School. But, we’ll see what happens come January.”
What are your thoughts on the BDO’s decision to drop all bans against players wishing to participate at Q-School?
“I think it’s a good thing, and I’m very happy with that decision from the BDO to drop the bans regarding Q-School.”
You tasted success for the first time in an international Mens event at the Belgium Masters after coming through that great final with Glen Durrant, you must’ve been delighted?
“Yes, it was my first International mens title. I couldn’t believe I defeated the back-to-back World Champion Glen Durrant. I was very very happy indeed.”
You’ve been playing serious darts from a very young age, Justin. You’ve played at the same tournaments as the likes as Gary Anderson, Raymond van Barneveld etc. I remember when you played Michael van Gerwen in an exhibition when you were very young, how was that?
“Yes, That was 5 years ago, when I was 13. I remember that I played really really well, but I missed a few doubles (laughs). But, it was great fun to play Michael.”
You’re in great form in 2018, Justin. And, as the PDC Development Tour events get underway in Peterborough next weekend, you must be looking forward to the four events?
“I’m really looking forward to it, yes. It’s always great to play on the Development Tour, and face some of the greatest players in the World.”
You’ve been very successful in the NDB ranking events over the years, Justin. The strength in depth in Dutch darts is so strong, not just now, but in the past too. You must be proud to represent your country, and put your name up there with the likes of Van Gerwen, Van Barneveld, Van de Pas etc must fill you with pride?
“I’m always very proud to play for my country. I’ve played for the Dutch national team since 2015.”
After losing your father from an early age, you’ve had to battle through that and mature into the man that you’ve become with your mother Miranda by your side, and I’m sure he’d be so so proud of your progress. You won your second Lakeside World Youth title with your fathers darts?
“Yes, that’s correct. He actually played in a competition with these darts on night he died, on October 16th, 2006. My sponsor Bulls Darts have now made a replica of the darts for me.”
Do you get to practise much at home, Justin. And, what sort of things do you work on?
“Yes, I practice about two hours each day. I practise on my doubles, and triple 20’s.”
Youth darts is in a great place at the minute, Justin. With the likes of the Junior Darts Corporation growing year-on-year, the standard of youth darts is continuing to grow, do you have any advice for young players wanting to emulate your success?
“What i’d say is, play in as many tournaments as you can. That’s what gave me the experience, and it helped me to get better. You also get used to people watching you play. I played my first tournament at the age of seven.”
Did you have any heroes as a young child when you first started playing darts, Justin?
“Yes, I was a big fan of Gary Anderson, and Darryl Fitton. And I still am to this day.”
You had your first taste of PDC European Tour action back at the Dutch Darts Masters in 2017, just how much did you enjoy being on the big stage ?
“I loved it, and I hope to be back on the big stage very soon.”
Many thanks to Justin for his time, and I wish him all the best for the remainder of 2018.