Gaiter snaps up Queensland spot
MARYBOROUGH sharpshooter Ben Gaiter has hit plenty of targets on the corkboard during his 10-year darts career, but it was at the state under-25 zone team championships that he really hit the bullseye.
Less than a year after joining the Darts Players Association Tour, an invigorated Gaiter, 24, won the right to play at his first national championship since he was 17 by finishing runner-up at the Toowoomba tournament.
"It's the first time I've ever tried out for under-25, so I knew it was going to be tough," Gaiter said.
"But I wasn't surprised I made the team.
"I've put in the time and effort and I felt I was a good chance if I was on my game."
As a result of his stellar performance, the Maryborough and District Darts Association member will represent Queensland at the Australian 25-and-under Championships in Tasmania.
After throwing well in Toowoomba, Gaiter, or Snappy as he is known at competitions, had no doubt what he wants to achieve at the nationals in November.
"I want to win it," he said.
"It's a bit ironic it's in Tasmania, because that's where I went for juniors. I want to go better than how I went that time.
"I'm playing well, but I still haven't peaked.
"Now I'm in the team, I'm going to spend a lot more time practising."
And practice is what he'll have to do if he plans to win.
But Gaiter, who is ranked 12th on the DPA tour, is also keen to mix it with the world's best, including 15-time world champion Phil Taylor and Australia's best sharpshooter Simon Whitlock.
"That's definitely to goal, to go over to England and play with the big boys," the 2011 Central Queensland Open champion said.
Gaiter is looking for sponsors to help him reach his dream. If you can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best thing about darts: Throwing a nine-darter (perfect game)
Worst thing: Being knocked out
Biggest inspiration: Simon Whitlock, because he's been there and done it
Career highlight: Winning the CQ Open last year
Ultimate dream: Play at the world championships
Favourite meal: A Subway veggie delight with no cheese