With his win in the men’s Open singles at the 2008 Carib Beer Caribbean and South American Masters championships firmly under his belt 23-year-old Sudesh Fitzgerald next assignment is to participate at the lucrative landrokes.com World darts Championships in London.
Fitzgerald is probably pinching himself to see if this dream run is real for just after clinching the title of national darts champion, he upset the form book and a strong field to be crowned Caribbean and South American Masters champion.
And come next month, December 19 to be precise, Fitzgerald will battle the big boys for the first prize of one hundred and twenty five thousand pounds.
Playing last weekend in Barbados where the tournament was held, the young Fitzgerald defeated his more esteemed countryman and the man he refers to as the “Local Master” Norman Madhoo to reach the final.
And, probably saving his best for last Fitzgerald defeated another favourite Mark Cummins of Barbados to be crowned 2008 Champion.
Fitzgerald became the second Guyanese behind Madhoo, who won in 2003, to win the championships.
He will join 69 other participants in the 70-man field.
The seven-round tournament which ends on January 4 2009 will see all the qualifiers receiving three thousand, five hundred pounds.
As each round progresses the prize money increases.
The tournament has already seen defending champion John `The Maple’ Part in the fray along with 2007 champion Raymond Van Barneveld and 13 times champion Phil `The Power’ Taylor looking to add to their individual tally.
According to Fitzgerald, his participation at the Masters and the Bryden’s Invitational Tournament both of which were held at the Almond Bay Beach Resort in Barbados, was due to the urgings from Madhoo who compelled him to go on his present form.
He told Stabroek Sport that the Bryden’s Invitational tournament was used as a warm up for the Masters and he lost to Barbadian Winston Cadogan in the first round.
He was however proud when Madhoo won the `The Right Guard Men Singles 2008’ title from T. Rowell and walked away with the US$700 first prize.
Fitzgerald and Madhoo subsequently claimed third place in the Benson and Hedges Pairs 2008 competition receiving US$200 for their efforts.
The duo teamed up with Barbados-based Guyanese Shabraj Singh to take the Cockspur men’s triples crown and the US$900 first prize.
In the main tournament, the Masters, Madhoo and Fitzgerald were grouped in the same half of the draw and Fitzgerald was wary of the fact that if he made it to the semi finals he would be playing the more seasoned Madhoo. In a see-saw battle Fitzgerald declared that he just held his nerve, concentrated on the board and won by the slimmest of margin in the best of seven match by a 4-3 score. In the other semi-final 2006 champion, Trinidadian, Vivekanand Dyal played some impressive darts against Cummins but collapsed after leading 3-1 and bowed out 3-4. The final, according to Fitzgerald, was very tense and he was extremely nervous.
This, he said, caused Cummins to go 1-0 but he rebounded to take the next two games.
But Cummins came roaring back and won the fourth to level the series 2-2.
“At this stage I got back my nerves,” said Fitzgerald who triumphantly took the next two games and the Masters title. Fitzgerald said that he was proud to be the representative of not only Guyana but the Caribbean and South America.
He opined that the tournament would “be a tough one,” but said he would play to the best of his ability.