The PDC World Youth Championship is one of the most prestigious events on the darts calendar for rising young talents in the sport. This major tournament organized by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) provides a platform for the next generation of darting superstars to showcase their skills.
What is the PDC World Youth Championship? The PDC World Youth Championship is the premier tournament for up-and-coming dart stars aged 16 to 23 years old. The tournament is held each year and comprises of 96 players that make up the best youth dart players from the PDC Developmental Tour, International Qualifiers, and PDC Tour Card Holders competing for a total prize money of £60,000. The winner receives £10,000 and a spot in the PDC World Darts Championship and PDC Grand Slam of Darts.
The PDC World Youth Championship provides a platform for the most promising young darts talents to gain exposure and experience playing on a big stage. Below is the ultimate guide to the history of the World Youth Championship, the format of the tournament, how you qualify for it, and some memorable moments.
History of the PDC World Youth Championship
The PDC World Youth Championship was first held in 2010 and was originally for 18 – 21 year olds youth from the PDC and the BDO (British Darts Organisation). The tournament was started to provide competitive opportunities for youth players and to develop the next generation of professional dart players.
Over the years, the event has produced classic matches between future stars of the sport. It has firmly established itself as a proving ground for emerging talents in professional darts. Some early winners who have gone on to succeed as pro players include Dimitri Van den Bergh, Michael Smith, and Luke Humphries.
PDC World Youth Championship Format
The tournament format of the PDC World Youth Championship consists of a group stage followed by knockout rounds:
- 32 groups of 3 players each
- Round-robin matches
- Best of 9 legs format
- Top seed in each group based on PDC Order of Merit
- Group winners progress to knockout phase
- Last 32 onwards
- Best of 11 legs format
- Played down to the final two
- Final held months later at separate event
The group stage sees players face off in a round-robin format to top their group. 2 points are awarded per win, with ties broken by leg difference and head-to-head record.
The knockout phase is a straight bracket from last 32 down to the championship final several months later. The final rounnd is played on the big stage in November at the PDC Players Championship Finals.
The total prize fund is £60,000, distributed as:
- Winner: £10,000
- Runner-Up: £5,000
- Semi-Finalists: £2,500 each
- Quarter-Finalists: £1,600 each
- Last 16: £1,000 each
- Last 32: £500 each
- Second in group: £300
- Third in group: £250
How to Qualify for the World Youth Championship
The 96-player field for the PDC World Youth Championship is confirmed after the conclusion of the PDC Development Tour season.
There are a few ways players can qualify for this prestigious event:
- Based on the PDC Order of Merit rankings
- From the PDC Women’s Series Order of Merit
- As international representatives
- Through the PDC Development Tour Order of Merit
The PDC Development Tour Order of Merit is the most common path for earning a spot. It is based on prize money won in the PDC Development Tour events during the calendar year.
The Development Tour is a series of 24 tournaments spread across 5 weekends, exclusively for players aged 16-23. The top performers on this Order of Merit get priority qualification for the World Youth Championship.
The top two on the Development Tour Order of Merit also receive a PDC pro tour card and entry into the PDC World Darts Championship. Players ranked 3rd-8th get free entry to PDC Qualifying School.
Besides the financial rewards, the tournament carries significant prestige and launches young players onto the global stage. It’s a major step in securing a profitable career in professional darts.
Notable Players and Moments
Despite its short history so far, the World Youth Championship has already produced many memorable matches and highlighted future talent:
- Dimitri Van den Bergh – Is the only two-time winner of the World Youth Championship in 2017 & 2018.
- Michael Smith – The rising PDC star claimed the 2013 World Youth Championship title. Michael has gone on to win the 2023 World Darts Championship and is ranked the number 1 player on the PDC pro tour.
With the rising young talents competing each year, the tournament promises to keep delivering more classic moments in the future.
The PDC World Youth Championship has clearly established itself as a must-watch event for darting fans while also serving as a springboard for the stars of tomorrow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the PDC World Youth Championship held?
The group stage takes place at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, England. The final is held months later during the Players Championship Finals at Butlin’s Resort Minehead, England.
What is the match format?
Best of 9 legs for group games, best of 11 legs from last 32 onwards.
How many players compete?
There is a field of 96 players. The initial group stage has 32 groups of 3 players each.
What is the minimum age to enter?
Participants must be aged 16 to 23 on the date of the tournament.
Can women participate?
Yes, up to two spots are reserved for women’s qualifiers.