Kim Huybrechts, Mike de Decker, And A Year To Forget For Belgian Darts

Published on 28 February 2024 at 20:00

Belgian No.2 and former major finalist Kim Huybrechts has this week been fined £1,500 by the Darts Regulation Authority, in what's just the latest event in what's been a very difficult last 14 months for mainstream darts in Belgium as a whole. Slaps, squabbles, and some lacklustre performances have left one of the most promising countries in the darts world in danger of falling behind...

Huybrechts, the current world number 32, who in addition to receiving his fine from the DRA also received a formal warning that could see him banned from future events in the case of another incident, is said to have made threatening and disparaging remarks towards his compatriots Mike De Decker and the Belgian No.1 Dimitri Van den Bergh.


Aimed at De Decker during their altercation back in November, Huybrechts reportedly said "I swear, this has been on my mind for a long time. You are the first on my list. And your mother too."  According to Belgian news outlets, the Hurricane also made poor taste remarks towards Van den Bergh, telling De Decker that he had a chance of making Belgium's World Cup team at DVDB's expense "You never know when someone falls down the stairs."


There was notable tensions between Van den Bergh and Huybrechts at last Summer's World Cup event in Dortmund, with the pair showing some awkward tension en-route to Belgium's exit at the semi-finals at the hands of eventual champions Wales. After their first match against Finland, the pair were forced to put out a statement to address the clear tension, before some noticeably passionate and almost 'forced' signs of chemistry in the knockout stages.  


Huybrechts in the past has been open about preferring to team up with his older brother Ronny in World Cup and other pairs competitions, and expressed his reluctance to forfeit his spot at one of Belgium's World Cup duo. With de Decker trailing Huybrechts by seven places and over £40,000 in the PDC order of merit, it will take a seismic effort from 'The Real Deal' to displace the current Belgian No.2


Read More: 2024 UK Open Preview: The FA Cup Of Darts Returns To Butlins, Minehead


This episode of darting drama is just the latest disaster in what's been a rollercoaster year for mainstream Belgian darts. Where it had looked like Belgium, similar to Germany, was narrowing the gap on the 'Big Four' countries of European Darts (England, Netherlands, Wales and Scotland). Van den Bergh failed to capitalise on his Semi Final appearances at the 2023 World Championship and UK Open, with very early exits in each of the ranking majors and televised events. 


There is hope however: a literal big hope in the Belgian Beast Andy Baetens. As the reigning WDF World Champion, he has almost seamlessly transitioned from the BDO/WDF stage onto the PDC ProTour circuit having won his tour card at this year's Q School. In a near direct parallel to Belgium's hopes with football, their darts scene may have peaked a few years ago with Van den Bergh's World Matchplay win, and a dark few years that followed may not have convinced everyone they are a darting force to be reckoned with.


By Jaspar Shepherdson

(@jasparshepmedia on X/Twitter and Instagram)


Image Credit: Sven Mandel on Wikipedia


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