Darts World’s latest contributor, Paul Woodage, had one of those moments all writers, commentators, and journalists dream of recently. His feature on Dimitri Van Den Bergh was written for the third edition of our sister publication OCHE. Not only is it a lovely piece, that focuses on the young player’s development to that point, but it also features a brave, last line prediction:
From Antwerp to Ally Pally Dimitri Van den Bergh is one of the rising young stars in the world of darts. At just 25 years old he is already a two time World Championship Quarter Finalist and a World Cup Semi Finalist. The. It is a remarkable journey which all began by following in his fathers footsteps and now the talented Belgian continues to climb the PDC ladder and has his eyes firmly fixed on challenging for major honours.
“My grandmother owned a bar with a dartboard and that is where my Dad started playing.
He soon figured out he was pretty good at it and began traveling to play in tournaments with his good friend Ronny Huybrechts”
So from a very early age Dimitri’s father and Ronny took him to darts events all over the country. ‘Follow your dreams son’ he would say and that is where the nickname ‘The Dreammaker’ was born. In case the young Belgian needs a reminder of his Dad’s loving and encouraging words he has the phrase tattooed on the inside of his left arm.
“When I was a little older it was Ronny’s brother Kim who took me under his wing and became my mentor. We would travel to tournaments together and the experience of playing and learning from him quickly helped improve my game”
Kim had established himself very well in the PDC and believed his protege had a bright future in the game so he put in a good word with his then manager Mac Elkin who went along to see this wonderkid for himself at a Youth Event in Blackpool. Dimitri won that day dropping just a single leg and that was enough for Mac to be suitably impressed with the Belgian youngster.
“I won the very first tournament I played under Mac but missed out on qualifying from Q-School that year. I joined the Youth Tour and managed to finish top of the Order of Merit which gave me my tour card and I’ve managed to keep hold onto it ever since”
Now a fully fledged member of the tour, Dimitri was rapidly getting attention with some impressive victories on the floor tournaments. Before very long ‘The Dreammaker’ was regularly qualifying for television events but needed a walk on song.
“My manager Mac knew I was a happy chirpy person so when ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams for the first time on This came on his car radio he immediately thought of me.
He rang and said that he found the ideal walk-on song and the minute I heard it I knew it was perfect”
The first time Dimitri walked on to his new tune was at a European Event in The Netherlands against Josh Payne. The crowd loved it and their energy gave him the confidence he needed.
“When was a young boy I was always moving to music and it kinda came natural to me so when Mac suggested I milk it a little I just started dancing once I got up on the stage! I won that match so every time the cameras are there I give the crowd a few of my moves”
By 2018 the young boy from Merksem was quickly rising in the rankings and had overtaken Ronny Huybrechts as the number two Belgian player in the PDC. This meant that he took the second spot beside his mentor Kim representing his nation in the World Cup of Darts.
“For me there is no greater honour than playing for your country, it was such a proud moment knowing I would be part of the Belgian team. I had done so before but never with Kim and it was something I was very excited about but also felt guilty at the same time for splitting up the long term partnership he had with his brother. When Ronny messaged me to say he was very proud and wished me all the best it really helped”
It certainly did as the Belgian duo became a formidable new team and reached the semi finals where they were eventually overcome by the might of the eventual champions, The Netherlands. However individual success was not too far away as Van den Bergh went all the way to the World Championship Quarter Finals that year where once again he was defeated by the eventual winner, Rob Cross.
“I was very nervous and it took me a while to fully settle.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was 4-1 down when I began to relax and start playing my game. I managed to bring it back to 4-4.
but everything was hitting the wire and in the end Rob took his chances”
Dimitri’s father was always his biggest influence and also his biggest fan so when during a 2019 European Tour event in Germany things became too much it was his Dad that he turned to.
“I lost to Dave Chisnall and I just didn’t perform. I felt I’d let everyone down, myself, my family and even my country. For some reason the preparation didn’t go well and I was ashamed for not playing as well as I know I can. As soon as I came off stage I called my Dad and was crying down the phone to him but he told me to keep believing in myself. After that I began practicing ever harder than ever before”
After another fantastic run to the quarter-finals of the recent World Championships, Dimitri now stands at number 28 in the world and eyeing that top sixteen.
“My aim for 2020 is to qualify for all the television events and show everyone what I can do. I have always felt comfortable on the stage and love entertaining the crowd. If I can qualify for lots of those then I really feel I could go far in them”
Ironically Dimitri’s home city of Antwerp loosely translates into ‘hand throwing’ so perhaps it was destiny that he should become a professional darts player. Confidence and belief has never been in doubt for the magnificent Belgian and with the ability he has who’s to say that he won’t be lifting major titles very soon.
Words: Paul Woodage
Images: OCHE Magazine & Taylor Lanning.