“Christian Kist, the man who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia-entry.”
These were the words BBC presenter Colin Murray used to introduce debutant Christian Kist to millions of TV viewers before his first round match against Jan Dekker at the 2012 Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships.
But one week later everyone knew the name of the 25 year-old from Vroomshoop in The Netherlands as he became the 21st BDO World Professional Darts Champion and the third Dutchman to collect the greatest title in World Darts.
Remarkably he was ranked 74th in the world when he stepped on the Lakeside oche and had to earn the right to be there by winning the International Play-Offs only a couple of months earlier!
That opening round with fellow countryman Jan Dekker produced the highest averages of the week, with Dekker recording 32.11 and Kist heading the Lakeside 2012 averages with a single darts average of 32.59 (his averages in every round topping 30 per dart).
He also hit more 180’s than any other player – 33 in total – and his epic final against Tony O’Shea established him as the new star of Dutch darts.
Christian Kist was born on April 21st, 1986 in Mariënberg, a village in the eastern province of Overijssel in The Netherlands.
Today he lives in Vroomshoop, only eight kilometres away from his birthplace, and it was there that his love of darts began when he was just 12 years of age. Shortly afterwards, when Raymond van Barneveld became the first ever Dutchman to win the famous title in 1998, Christian entered his local pub, Café Kremer, and it was immediately clear that he already had a great talent.
Following his performance in qualifying for Lakeside and then reaching the Last 16 in the 2011 Winmau World Masters, many inside Dutch darts expected Christian to do well at Lakeside – and so did many of the British darts stars who watched him play in Hull.
Before the event, 2006 Lakeside Champion Jelle Klaasen predicted that it would be worth putting some money on the road worker to win the title (his opening odds were 66-1) but for everyone else, Kist’s Lakeside victory came from nowhere.
Although Holland was represented by eight players at Frimley Green, Kist – a massive supporter of Ajax FC – was maybe the least known of them all. Not that hard to believe because he hadn’t played that much in front of the TV cameras.
His only appearance before British TV viewers came on ESPN in the autumn of 2011. After a victory over fellow Dutchman Jan Dekker – the 2011 Lakeside Semi-Finalist – he reached the last 16 of the Winmau World Masters in September before being beaten by Tony West for a place in the Quarter-Finals.
Three months later he received a wildcard for the Zuiderduin Masters, but in front of the Dutch crowd he was eliminated in the group stage, losing to title holder Ross Montgomery and Fabian Roosenbrand.
However, earlier on the European tour Kist proved his talent by reaching the final of the Swiss and Luxemburg Opens, but lost to Paul Jennings and his close friend Alan Norris, the man who drove him to Lakeside in January 2012, and who he subsequently beat 5-1 in the Quarter-Finals.
In April 2011 he won the Spring Cup (an event for players from the European mainland only) in Belgium. In the final he overcame 2004 and 2005 Lakeside competitor Rick Hofstra and eliminated Jan Dekker in the Semi-Final.
Dekker was the player Christian beat on his way to Lakeside glory. Kist met ‘Double Dekker’ in the First Round at Lakeside and it produced a match described as the most outstanding of Lakeside 2012 – certainly in terms of scoring power!
However, it wasn’t just the Kist darts that made him a star in Holland, it was also some of his TV interviews! Without the ability to speak or understand English this led to some funny TV moments as he struggled with his English. Conversely, it also turned out to be an advantage to him.
He told leading website Dartfreakz.nl that it was because of his inability to communicate that he maintained his focus all week – bringing him victories over Jan Dekker, Geert de Vos, Alan Norris, Ted Hankey and Tony O’Shea on his way to the Lakeside title.
In his Semi-Final against Hankey he was 5-3 down and survived a match dart from a two-times World Champion who had never previously lost a Semi-Final at Lakeside.
Kist was nicknamed ‘Lipstick’ by darts legend Bobby George for three reasons: He’s a great scorer in the treble-20 bed (known as the lipstick), his habit of opening his mouth each time he throws, and because his name sounds like ‘Kissed’.
But nicknames apart, he was always supremely confident at Lakeside. He believed that he could win and so did girlfriend Kirsten:
“I know him and he never gives up”, she said.
“Amazing, unbelievable”, Christian told Dutch channel RTV Oost shortly after becoming the world champion. They had flown over especially to follow his triumph, as did Aldermen from his Municipality.
Over the whole Championship Christian Kist threw a 3-dart average of 94.1 – just half a point less than PDC Champion Adrian Lewis.
His road to the final: First Round v Jan Dekker 3-2; Second Round v Geert de Vos 4-2; Quarter Finals v Alan Norris 5-1; Semi-Final v Ted Hankey 6-5 and the Final v Tony O’Shea 7-5.
It was a great achievement and the following day after lifting the famous trophy he was honoured in his hometown of Vroomshoop, where 1500 people attended the celebrations.
On the first Saturday after the final he played in the Superleague (Dutch Premier League) as usual. His local pub, Café Kremer, and everyone in it went absolutely crazy when Kist threw the final double 16 against O’Shea to lift the title.
He remains modest and avoids the spotlight. He is just an ordinary man who loves his darts and it will take some time for him to realise that he is Champion of the World!
BBC commentator Vassos Alexander summed it up when he said:
“The world of darts has a new superstar. He’s 25. He’s bald. He’s Dutch and he’s called Christian Kist.”
And to return to Colin Murray’s opening introduction – before Lakeside Christian Kist was not on Wikipedia, but he is now!
Such is the power of winning the BDO’s Lakeside World title.