The silent forces behind Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts at the World Cup of Darts: “Kim is the worst loser of all”

The Polish number one is none other than Krzysztof Ratajski, the number 16 in the world. He once won a Players Championship tournament without a tour card and won again the next day. No one has done that for him until now. Number two in Poland is the barely 18-year-old Sebastian Bialecki. An up-and-coming talent who made it to the quarter-finals of the UK Open earlier this year. He also regularly appears on the Development Tour, the darts circuit for players under the age of 23. There he is number 9 in the world.

But among the entourage of the Belgians, they believe in it. “They’re going to win,” Evi Loyaerts, aka the future Mrs. Van den Bergh, sounds confident. “I also have a good feeling about it,” adds Nick Cambré, Kim Huybrechts’ regular supervisor. “They are both in a good period.” Loyaerts agrees and states: “The doubles can sometimes be their strength, so it wouldn’t matter if it comes to that (in the event of a tie after two singles, ed.).”

“They do that a lot too. A Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton, for example, those are two top players and they throw just fantastic. But they don’t practice that.” Cambre knows. “They are good mates next to the block, but nobody here clicks like Dimitri and Kim,” said Loyaerts. “It’s really deep with them. Kim is sometimes… (*clenches her two fists) and Dimitri can calm him down. And vice versa, Kim Dimitri can pull something along in a match, at the right time. In fact, they are the perfect duo.”

© BELGA_HANDOUT

the click

“Kim also has a lot of confidence in Dimitri,” it sounds. “That click is just there, I don’t know whether that also applies the other way around, but I often have the impression that Dimitri has more nerves than Kim.” That’s right, we hear in the sweltering hall in Frankfurt. “Not because Dimitri doesn’t trust Kim, on the contrary. But because he is playing for his country and then he wants to do it extra well. Representing your country is something else than playing darts for yourself, so it’s much more special,” said Mrs. Van den Bergh. “They do the other 51 weeks in a year,” adds Cambré. “This only happens once, so that makes it unique and you notice that in them.”

For Van den Bergh, the World Cup is number three in importance, after the World Cup and the World Matchplay (where he reached the final in the past two seasons. For Huybrechts “perhaps a little higher”, it sounds. “I’d like to take that trophy home, that’s so important to both of them. That Dimitri shows a little more emotions on stage? Yes, that’s right. Because they work for each other. Those two are practically family, aren’t they.”

Although ‘The DreamMaker’ and ‘The Hurricane’ naturally have their personal entourage with them, which is vital during a tournament. “I never go to the hall before Dimitri is called to the stage,” says Loyaerts. “I am always at the gates, together with his manager. He really needs that before he goes on stage. Get to see the familiar faces, even during a match. Someone he can gesture to.” Ditto for Huybrechts. “Kim often makes eye contact with us. If all goes well, almost every time. If it goes less, a little less. With him you often have to say, keep calm. Very important is his first arrow, that he throws it through. – If two are below the triple 20, then you just have to point your finger upwards. Those are things you sometimes forget in that rush on stage. Weird, but that really helps.”

© Joren De Weerdt

And if it doesn’t help, we’re left with two men who are heartbroken that they’ve lost.

“Kim is the worst losing of the whole game here,” Cambré laughs. “Then you just can’t talk to him. It only takes fifteen minutes. Actually, that’s also a good quality, isn’t Dimitri a good loser?” Loyaerts takes over. “He expresses that differently. He’s not as hot-tempered as Kim, but it depends on the match. Whether it was good or not. He recently lost 6-5 a few times, despite a good match. Then it is difficult and of: Why does that happiness not fall with me? Then he won the Nordic Darts Masters and you can see that it gives him a huge boost.”

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