Though the music grooves in the background, onlookers remain silent and still as the archer lines himself up and stares at the tiny red sliver underneath the number 20 at the top of the board. Standing perpendicular to his target, he sharply inhales before releasing the dart with a smooth, swift movement below the elbow, his body otherwise motionless. The dart arcs toward the board before landing squarely in the center of the sliver, denoting a score of 60—the highest score you can achieve with a single dart. He confidently proceeds to throw his remaining two darts into the same tiny space, as the previously breathless crowd erupts into cheers.
In 2002, The Saigon International Darts League was officially founded with six teams and eight locations. A lot has changed in the last decade—the league has grown to include corporate sponsorships (Tiger Beer has been their official sponsor for five consecutive years now), charities and plans for major future expansion. SIDL has turned Tuesday night (7pm sharp) into a weekly event in Ho Chi Minh City. Now with over 300 members, and 20 bars serving as darts venues, SIDL has become the largest regular gathering of expats in the city. Although the league is comprised of expats from around the world, they are eager to promote darts amongst the Vietnamese as well.
Competition nights are on Tuesdays at 7pm. They currently have 3 divisions with 7-8 teams per division. The winners from the first half of the season were:
Division 1: The Vinyls, played at Vinyl bar
Division 2: The Bounced Checks, played at Shrine Clubhouse
Division 3: The Nomads, played at Malt bar.
The winner with the most personal trophies was Mr. “Guppy” Liem.
IMAGES BY HOANG KHANH LAI