In many professional sports such as football or tennis, players hit their peak in their mid to late 20s and begin to wind down for retirement by the time they hit their mid-30s. In some cases, players who take good care of their bodies can continue playing into their late 30s, but such examples are rare.
Darts is one of the few sports that seems to defy the constraints of age. In fact, players are more likely to reach the top during their 30s or 40s than in their 20s. In the PDC era, Michael van Gerwen is the only player to have reached World No. 1 while still in his 20s, achieving the milestone at the age of 24. That’s in stark contrast to the other World No. 1s during that period, who were all aged 30 or over. For example, the greatest player of all time, Phil Taylor, was 36 when he first became the No. 1-ranked player, while Dennis Priestley achieved the feat at the age of 44. Gary Anderson peaked at the age of 46 winning back-to-back world titles and reaching No.2 in the world, while Raymond van Barneveld rose to the top spot in the rankings at the age of 40.
Darts is clearly a sport that favours older players. Phil Taylor won his 16th World Championship at the age of 52, while Peter Wright won his first World title at age 49. In 2020, Portuguese player Jose De Sousa burst onto the scene, beating James Wade in the Grand Slam of Darts final at the age of 46 as covered by https://www.bbc.com/sport/darts/. A year later, he reached the final of the darts Premier League. He also landed two televised nine-dart finishes and rose to No. 10 in the world rankings. Just three years earlier, he was unranked and had only ever qualified for one major tournament. Now aged 47, the former kitchen-fitter looks like he has yet to reach his peak.
Most people would assume that the eyesight, sharpness, fitness, and accuracy needed to excel in darts would be heightened in your 20s, but all the statistics challenge that theory. So, are darts players just superhuman? Well, the popular Darts Heroes video slot game, found at casino bonus comparison sites like this one https://bonus.net.nz/online-casinos/minimum-deposit/, depicts Taylor, Barneveld, Van Gerwen, and Anderson as having Avenger-like superpowers. Maybe that's close to the truth. Taylor’s exploits certainly gave him an aura of invincibility for much of his career. But, for us mere mortals, playing online darts games might be the closest we get to playing with the pros.
There are a couple of other sports which can also claim to be age-defying, most notably golf. The oldest player to make the cut was Germany’s Bernhard Langer, who broke the record in 2020 aged 63 years, two months, and 17 days as reported on https://www.espn.com/golf/story/. The beauty of such sports is that they give players such as Jose de Sousa hope that they can still hit the big time despite pushing 50 years of age and they also give players the chance to continue playing long after they may have retired in other sports.