Aussie father-son duo take on darts champs

Ky and Ray Smith will become the first father-son duo to compete at the World Darts Championship.
Ky and Ray Smith will become the first father-son duo to compete at the World Darts Championship.

Hotels and travel insurers have cancelled on them quicker than they could hit a checkout, but even that can't stop Australians Ray and Ky Smith from making history at London's Alexandra Palace this week.

The Brisbane pair will become the first father-son duo to compete in the 29-year history of the PDC World Darts Championships, which begins on Thursday.

Ray, 42, qualified for this year's event by winning the DPA Satellite Tour, while Ky, 19, clinched the Oceanic Masters in October to book his ticket to London.

"That day everything was slow starting," Ky, who goes by the nickname 'The Prodigy', told AAP.

"Everything kind of clicked for me as it went on. I was averaging mid-80s in the finals and I was averaging 94 in the final."

Ky has been playing since he was six and began taking on the men from the age of 10.

He won his first title at 14 and the long-term aim was to enter the PDC's Q School for emerging players.

But he was only allowed to take to the oche if, like most teenagers, he kept his room tidy.

"I would've been 25 when I started to get into it," Ray explained.

"Ky would want to practise with me, but he couldn't reach the board.

"I wouldn't let him play until he could count. I was fairly regimented with his routine outside of darts because he wasn't quite there under pressure.

"It was little things, as simple as making your bed which has helped develop his discipline and calmness when he's playing."

Those changes made the difference and led to Ky securing his ticket to the first round where he will face Dutchman Maik Kuivenhoven on Sunday (11.40pm AEDT).

Victory would see him advance to take on England's James Wade, who is currently ranked fourth by the PDC and has reached the semi-finals on three previous occasions.

Ray meets experienced Englishman Jamie Hughes on Saturday (11.40pm AEDT).

Both he and Ky would need to reach the third round to stand a chance of recuperating any of the money they spent on flights, COVID tests and travel insurance, most of which was cancelled after the detection of the Omicron variant, and hotel quarantine on their return to Australia.

The pair could meet in the quarter-finals should they both win through, but the longer term aim for Ky is to become a regular on the PDC circuit.

"It's kind of surreal," Ray added.

"I said to him that he would come of age over the next few years and said 'you're going to do things'.

"No sooner than three months later and he was the first one of us to book his ticket to Ally Pally, he's just exploded the last few months."

Australian Associated Press