Luke Littler’s rapid rise to World Darts Championship stardom at 16 years old

Luke Littler has put many years into becoming a teenage sensation on the oche (Picture: Getty Images)

Luke Littler is two wins away from becoming the youngest ever winner of the World Darts Championship, but despite bursting into mainstream recognition, this is no overnight success for the teenager.

The 16-year-old has made incredibly light work of his first five games in the sport’s biggest event, breezing into the semis with the loss of just four sets along the way.

The darts world knew that a special talent was ready to sparkle on the big stage, but few predicted just how brightly he was going to shine on debut.

Littler may not be able to be served in a pub yet, but he has years of throwing tungsten behind him already, first picking up a dart at 18 months old.

‘I first picked up a set of magnetic darts when I was about one-and-a-half years old,’ he said. ‘My mum and dad got it for me.

‘At the age of four, I started playing on a small board with proper Phil Taylor darts. Around the age of six or seven, I started throwing from the proper height in proper length. Proper darts from nine years old.’

Littler is now showing his skills in the big league of the PDC, but he has been winning events in the various amateur and junior ranks of darts since 2019, building his way up to the game’s top flight.

Luke Littler

Littler is already accustomed to picking up silverware (Picture: Kieran Cleeves)

Back-to-back titles at the JDC World Darts Championship, a string of brilliant performances to win the PDC World Youth Championship this year and multiple successes on the open-age Modus Super Series cemented his place as the most potent talent outside of the professional ranks.

In that respect, Littler doing well at Ally Pally is not a shock, but his ease and cool on the biggest stage in darts is still surprising, as are his relentlessly world class performances, banging in huge averages with mechanical consistency.

It is all down to years of hard work and a focus on achieving his dreams on the oche while ignoring distractions from elsewhere.

‘It was come back from school, darts, watch whatever darts was on the TV. I practised while it was on,’ Littler said of his routine as a schoolboy. ‘I have always been watching it and I have always been playing.

‘My hero was Phil Taylor, obviously. I met him at a Target Dart launch this year and he just said, he had been watching me.’

2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship - Day Fourteen

Littler has seemingly mastered the rowdy crowd at Ally Pally (Picture: Getty Images)

On his calm and composed demeanour, belying his age, he added: ‘That’s literally me. I let my darts do what they do.

‘I sit back and practice every now and again. I just keep myself to myself. I am always at home, practising, when I have spare time, I will sit with the family or play my Xbox.

‘I don’t go out with my mates or anything. But they do keep in touch and always watch me. It’s just inside, practice, Xbox, chill out. There is no other focus apart from darts.’

There has been huge focus on him during his run to the last four in north London, with former world champ Gary Anderson warning that media attention could seriously hamper Littler’s young career.

He admits that it has been a lot for him to deal with, bursting into the public domain, but if he keeps winning the headlines will keep being written.

Asked if the press should start to leave him alone, he said with a laugh: ‘Yeah, please! If you can! No, I don’t mind, but it does get a bit too much.’

Littler steps back into the limelight for his semi-final against 2018 world champion Rob Cross at 7.30pm on Tuesday night at Alexandra Palace.

Is Luke Littler the best player in the world? The 16-year-old says ‘no chance’

MORE : 16-year-old Luke Littler destroys Brendan Dolan to reach World Darts Championship semi-finals

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