How rising star Luke Littler has taken darts world by storm in 2024

By Sports Desk March 11, 2024

The start of 2024 has been extraordinary for teenager Luke Littler, who has not only burst onto the world darts scene, but into mainstream national consciousness.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at how the 17-year-old has made his mark.

World Championship runner-up

Littler, then 16, captured the public imagination with a stunning run at darts’ biggest showpiece, the World Championship at Alexandra Palace, coming into the new year. Displaying stunning accuracy and maturity beyond his years – and the public lapping up stories of his dramatic rise and his love of kebabs – ‘The Nuke’ knocked out some of the sport’s biggest names, including Raymond van Barneveld and Rob Cross, before the fairytale ended with final defeat to Luke Humphries.

Bahrain master

The Warrington-based prodigy proved his Ally Pally heroics were no fluke as he claimed his first PDC title at the Bahrain Masters a few weeks later. He avenged his loss to Humphries, threw a nine-dart finish and powered past three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen in the final, all in the week he turned 17.

Dutch runner-up

The momentum continued in January as Littler reached the final of the Dutch Masters. This time Van Gerwen got the better of him but it was still another impressive showing from the teenager.

Premier League entry

Littler’s remarkable impact saw him handed a wildcard for this year’s eight-player Premier League, a series of televised showcase events. Although he has not yet won, he has not disappointed and is third in the overall table after the first six match nights. He was beaten by Van Gerwen in a thrilling final of the Berlin event last month.

Wigan wonder

The 17-year-old’s ascent continued as he won the opening Players Championship tournament of the season in Wigan, throwing another nine-darter for good measure on the way. He capped a brilliant debut in the competition by edging out Ryan Searle in the final, moving into the world’s top 30 in the process.

UK Open

There was to be no maiden major PDC title at the UK Open but Littler continued to command most of the attention last week in Minehead with a run to the quarter-finals that ended in a 10-8 defeat to Australian Damon Heta. In a high-quality match considered one of the best ever played in a tournament often referred to as the FA Cup of darts, Littler fought back from 9-6 down and almost forced a deciding leg before Heta snatched it.

Belgian brilliance

Littler made a winning debut on the European Tour with success at the Belgian Open in Wieze over the weekend. There was some controversy along the way as he got involved in a heated exchange with German Ricardo Pietreczko, who branded him as ‘arrogant’ after their semi-final, but he responded in style. He threw a nine-darter as he beat Cross 8-7 in the final and landed the £30,000 prize.

Success off the oche

Littler is also proving a winner away from the dartboard. As well as a lucrative sponsorship with dart manufacturer Target, there have been endorsements with a clothing company and a breakfast cereal. He has also been in demand on the celebrity circuit and appeared on the Jonathan Ross Show at the weekend alongside Brits award sensation RAYE, actor Millie Bobby Brown, former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and comedian Rob Beckett.

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