Guyanese Fitzgerald set for emotional return at World Cup of Darts
Sudesh Fitzgerald will make an emotional big stage return at this year’s My Diesel Claim World Cup of Darts, less than a year after a serious car crash left him fighting for his life.
Fitzgerald will team up with Norman Madhoo to represent debutants Guyana at this year’s World Cup, which takes place at the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt from June 15-18.
The 36-year-old featured at the World Darts Championship over a decade ago, and he confirmed his televised comeback after winning through last month’s Latin American Qualifier alongside Madhoo.
The pair stormed through the 16-team qualifier to secure their place in the popular pairs event, and it capped off a remarkable comeback story for the man nicknamed ‘His Majesty’.
(Sudesh Fitzgerald posted this video on social media in November 2022 showing his path to recovery following the horrific accident)
Fitzgerald had been in a coma just nine months earlier, after being involved in a horrendous accident which left him with a host of internal injuries.
He also sustained a broken jaw, broken hip, broken foot and lost part of his liver following the crash, but now he’s fighting fit ahead of his World Cup bow in Frankfurt.
“I was unconscious, I didn’t know anything,” revealed Fitzgerald, speaking to the Weekly Dartscast.
“It was my family and friends that went through the difficult part, dealing with that situation.
“How my wife has to deal with the situation and deal with all the nonsense that I put up. She is probably the strongest person other than my mum that I’ve seen.”
Fitzgerald’s only previous televised appearance came at the 2009 World Championship, when he lost out to South Africa’s Charles Losper in a preliminary qualifier at Alexandra Palace.
However, following a 14-year hiatus, Guyana’s former national champion will have another opportunity to fulfil his darting dreams on the global stage.
“There were a lot of nerves back then. I was young, I’d had no exposure to the world,” added the Georgetown trailblazer.
“Playing at the World Championship was my best achievement. I have always wanted to go back because I was nervous on that stage, but now there is nothing to lose.
“I’ve always wanted to play darts and I’ve always wanted to better myself in every way.
“That determination was always there and I apply it not only to darts but to everything I do.
“I try to be confident. I try to have confidence in people around me and whatever I say I try to make it as real as possible.”
In a radical change to previous years, this year’s World Cup has been expanded from 32 to 40 teams – with Guyana joining Iceland, Ukraine and Bahrain in making their debuts in the unique Pairs event.
Fitzgerald and Madhoo sealed their qualification in style at the Latin American Qualifier, celebrating a 10-1 rout of Costa Rican duo Andres Montero and Diego Orozco in their decider.
Three-time World Championship qualifier Madhoo is also no stranger to the big stage, but Fitzgerald hopes that their World Cup campaign will inspire a new generation of talent in their homeland.
“This means a lot,” continued Fitzgerald, who has also represented Guyana in the WDF Americas Cup.
“In Guyana there are very few options available, and I chose darts, which is very different from the other sports like cricket, football and tennis.
“Whatever I try my hand at, I want to get the best out of myself and it has progressed over the years.
“We have a constitution we try to follow which guides us on the way forward, but we need more exposure for darts in Guyana.
“Hopefully we can collaborate with the PDC and have some opportunities to improve our game and make it better.”
Nevertheless, Fitzgerald’s immediate focus is centred on this week’s World Cup, and their opening Group C assignment against Australia’s reigning champions Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock.
Guyana will also take on Gibraltar’s young duo Craig Galliano and Justin Hewitt in the round-robin phase, with the group winner set to advance to the last 16 knockout stages.
“There is a lot of excitement,” added Fitzgerald, who is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against the world’s elite.
“It’s going to be a winning feeling. That is what we are going there for – to win.
“We know we have the ability to throw well, and the world champions can even miss too.
“This is what we’ve both been working towards since we started, and I’m so happy that we will be on the same stage at the same time, doing what we love for our country.”
The My Diesel Claim World Cup of Darts will be broadcast on Sky Sports for viewers in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s international broadcast partners, including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.
2023 My Diesel Claim World Cup of Darts
Thursday June 15 (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Group Stage – First Matches x12
Team 1 v Team 2 from each group
Switzerland v Italy
Poland v Portugal
Czech Republic v Singapore
Spain v South Africa
Republic of Ireland v Thailand
Northern Ireland v France
Belgium v Finland
Canada v India
Austria v Denmark
Germany v Hong Kong
Australia v Guyana
Latvia v New Zealand