Darts: Aussie Kyle Anderson emerges from COVID-19 scare for fresh start with Kiwi sponsor Shot Darts

Aussie darts star Kyle Anderson believes his career is beginning to fall back into place for him, after a challenging 12 months that have included a long battle with coronavirus.

Anderson is the latest Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) star to sign with Kiwi company Shot Darts, which is in its 50th year of designing and distributing darts to 76 countries around the world. 

In the heart of Katikati, the Shot Darts team are putting the final touches on Anderson's new look - from his arrows to his shirt - but that exercise has become somewhat fraught since he tested positive for coronavirus. 

In a pre-COVID world, Anderson would have spent a few days in the factory, perfecting his new darts. Instead, prototypes are being sent backwards and forwards to his Australian home in a more prolonged process.

Regardless, Anderson is excited for this new chapter in his career, which has already seen him hit two televised 'nine-darters' and claim the 2017 Auckland Darts Masters title, beating Gary Anderson, James Wade, Simon Whitlock and Corey Cadby along the way. 

"Everything that's happened with COVID and myself getting it has brought a bright light to a year that has been hampered by a few things," Anderson tells Newshub. 

"It has opened doors, something to look forward to when darts return in full swing."

Due to a lack of tournaments, Anderson has slipped down the rankings from 27th at the 2019 World Darts Championship to his current spot at 46th. 

But the pandemic has enabled Anderson to spend more time with his family and he's ruled out contesting any more major PDC events this year, due to travel complications. 

The 32-year-old tested positive for the coronavirus on March 29, after returning to Australia, and spent nearly five weeks in isolation. Although he didn't need hospital treatment and did not display serious symptoms, he kept returning positive tests. 

"I had a cough similar to when you put the aircon on and one night, I had a coughing fit and I thought, 'Is this it?' 

"Then a week after that, I had no symptoms, but 4-5 weeks later, I was still testing positive. I was scared, but it was more the uncertainty around what's next  that was scary." 

He eventually returned a negative test at the end of April, and was able to reunite with his wife and child, who both tested negative for the virus.

Anderson revealed a big reason for his move to Shot Darts was about returning to where his career began, when he first burst onto the Australian darts scene, sponsored by the same company, then known as Puma Darts.

Kyle Anderson.
Kyle Anderson. Photo credit: Photosport

"I was coming home to the family and spoke to the wife, and she said, 'You've lost the interest in darts, why don't you go back to the start, when you were happy'.

"My first sponsor was Puma, so I spoke to my agent and we reached out. 

"I've always wanted to come back and I believe now is the right moment."

Anderson's career has followed a tough journey. While most players are close to their families, his remain in Australia, while he plys his trade around the world.

Shot Darts managing director Peter McCormick is delighted to have Andesron on board, after setting himself a lofty goal of signing a high-ranked PDC player to join the team. 

Anderson joins fellow PDC stars Max Hopp and Martin Schindler of Germany, Spain's Tony Alcinas and Sweden's Daniel Larsson to have their gear designed and manufactured by the Kiwi company, which also supports Kiwi stars Haupai Puha and Cody Harris.

"Lots of players tend to stay with the same manufacturer and it's quite unusual for players to move to new manufacturers, so I was keeping my eyes peeled," McCormick tells Newshub.

"Kyle's manager reached out and said he was available, and to say I jumped at it with both hands and feet is an understatement. 

"Kyle is well known around the Australian dart fraternity. He's achieved things nobody else has done and he's done amazing things for darts in this part of the world. 

"He also has a huge following in Europe and that's going to be great for us. When we get back into the things next year, we will be ready for it."