This year, Lithuania will join the World Cup of Darts for the first time. This is mainly by Darius Labanauskas, who defeated Raymond van Barneveld in the Worlds and and reached a final of a recent Players Championship. But who is exactly his partner at the World Cup? Darts Actueel talked to Mindaugas Barauskas.
Mindaugas Barauskas is 39 years old and lives in the small town of Prienai. Barauskas hit his first arrows in England, he told us, “I started darts when I was in England. I bought in England darts, I threw a few times and suddenly I had many questions: “Why weigh some darts more and other less, why differs the flight of darts, and more importantly how you can be very good at it.” At that time I became addicted and felt the haste and desire to win.”
Barauskas was chosen for Lithuania because he played the PDC Nordic & Baltic Tour this year and participated in Q-School at the beginning of January. Labanauskas told Darts Actueel about his own quality: “I think there are no limits to one’s development. It takes a lot of effort. Right now I can’t brag about great titles, but for me the quality of my game goes for win matches. I try to enjoy all the emotion and experience of each party. Over time I think I will reach a point in which I think only of victories.”
Labanauskas and Barauskas train very much together in their spare time, so they both raise their level. The 39-year-old Lithuanian told the following about their trainings: “We train together in the Kaunas Club and sometimes at home. In every training session I get new experience, because I get comments from Darius about my implementation, I understand how to train, how to throw the darts and what I need to change in my exercises. With every day my level of play gets better, but the most important thing is the moment you play competitive games. Even with the best training you can lose the most important games or vice versa.”
In the first round of the World Cup of Darts there is format of best of 9 legs in pairs, which makes it possible to surprise many countries against the favourites. Team Lithuania is well prepared: “We played our first pairs tournaments in Lithuania, in which we often became first. We also won gold medals during pairs tournaments in Latvia. The most interesting tournament for us was the Swedish Open Doubles, when we lost the first year the final, but the next year we won the final, although we had better and more experienced opponents than the previous year.”
Lithuania will meet New Zealand in the first round with Cody Harris and Haupai Puha as players, not an easy draw. Barauskas looks forward to it: “I think it is possible to win from them, but in the sport you can never plan such things. Some games you win and some games you lose. That’s what sport is all about. The most important thing we can do is concentrate and play well. The boys from New Zealand will definitely show what they are made of and won’t let us win without a fight, especially if they take a long journey to play.”