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Darts keeps dreaming big but its spirit remains rooted in Alexandra Palace

While the PDC world championship offers a glimpse of new horizons, brand tweaks and the next generation of players, stereotypes are hard to avoid

As Dimitri Van den Bergh makes his way on stage after a raucous, fist-bumping entrance-walk, he starts to dance. It is a quick-stepping dance, with shades of jazz, hip-hop and those moves people tend to pull out in viral YouTube videos just before cracking their head on a frozen duck pond.

In front of him the floor of the Alexandra Palace rises to its feet with a bellicose cheer. Van den Bergh is wearing a spangled shirt with the words “The Dream Maker” emblazoned across the back. The Belgian is 24 years old, well-groomed, slim, the reigning world youth champion, and the kind of player PDC chief executive Matt Porter describes half an hour later as “the new breed”, on whose shoulders the aggressive global expansion of the sport will rest.

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