Angry Turk’s views on BDO Worlds, getting into darts, future aims and more
We are delighted to be joined by Turkey’s leading name in darts Umit Uygunsozlu, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his maiden Lakeside appearance, in Part 7 of our 2018 BDO World Championship profile/interview series.
Umit, affectionately nicknamed Angry Turk, is really starting to make a name for himself after trying his hand on the BDO circuit, having put in some standout performances against top names in the organisation.
Notable achievements so far for him have been winning the 2015 Malta Open and Turkish Classic, while in 2017 he qualified for the World Trophy for the first time and took former world champion Scott Mitchell the distance in a close 6-5 defeat.
Now having qualified for Lakeside – the first person from Turkey to have done so in either darts World Championship – his stock has risen even further, and takes on Welshman Chris Harris in the preliminary round for a first round meeting with 12th seed Dean Reynolds.
Umit talks to us about much of the above and more, including how he first got into the sport, his nickname, darts in Turkey and his future aims.
So, read on for our exclusive Umit Uygunsozlu interview and profile, the seventh in our series, ahead of the 2018 BDO World Championship from January 6-14…
Umit Uygunsozlu profile
Place of birth: Adana
Nickname: Angry Turk
Walk-on song: Suspus by Ceza
Darts used: Winmau 21g
Sponsors: Kronos Company, Winmau, Tomer
Twitter handle: @UmitUygunsozlu
Favourite double: 16
Favourite checkout: 108, 132
Favourite tournament: Turkish Open
Favourite country/city played in: Germany, Berlin
Toughest players faced: I am afraid of no one
Turkish players to watch in future: Cagri Turgut, Mursel Yavuz, Cem Kireker
Darts heroes: Darryl Fitton, Gary Anderson
Best mates in darts: Mursel Yavuz, Cagri Turgut
Favourite food: Adana kebab
Favourite film/TV show: Cinderella Man
Favourite band/musicians: Muslum Gurses by Ceza, Manus Baba
Hobbies outside of darts: Listening to music
Current day job: Sports teacher
Ultimate darting ambition: To be in the PDC
Umit Uygunsozlu interview
To begin with, for your fans that may not know, can you say a bit about yourself and how you got into darts, when you first realised you were good enough for the BDO?
My childhood passed by playing soccer, [and] I met darts aged 25. I actually started by chance in 2010. Of course, the darts players I compete against in Europe have been playing for at least 15 years.
I realised that I was good enough for the BDO after the 2013 Turkish Open. I reached the semi-finals for the first time in that tournament.
Here is what I can say about myself; being a Turk really makes it hard to compete in tournaments. We struggle too much. It is difficult for us to participate in tournaments and to be a Turk in Europe.
But the fight is in our blood!
How did your nickname Angry Turk come about? Are you happy with the name?
I got the Angry Turk nickname thanks to my friends. They thought that because of my behaviours.
Some of my BDO tournaments were tense. I was constantly arguing with somebody. Especially my face is not very cute.
Am I satisfied with this name? I don’t know.
How excited are you ahead of your first World Championship? Have you watched the tournament before, and how special is it to you being the first Turkish player to ever qualify for it?
I’m so excited about the World Championship. I am the first Turk to join the platform and it is a great responsibility for me.
I follow it often on TV. I will represent my country in the best way.
What are your aims at the 2018 BDO World Championship?
It’s my greatest goal to make it all the way to the end to play better darts.
I want to leave a mark.
How did it feel to qualify for the 2017 World Trophy in the summer too, and coming so close to beating former world champion Scott Mitchell?
The World Trophy was very exciting for me. Because it was the first experience for me.
Scott Mitchell is a very good player. But I could’ve beat him in the tournament. Nevertheless, it was a good experience for me.
What are your aims for the 2018 season? Would you consider moving to the UK to compete in more tournaments?
I want to be in more tournaments and get better results. I want to be in Lakeside again in 2019.
If you can help me move to England, why not!
Which players have helped make you feel welcome in the BDO? Who are the darts players you look up to?
I think I have nice friends in the BDO. Willem Mandigers is a good darts player and a very good person.
Darryl Fitton is a good friend, who helped me out on tournaments I went to.
I also respect Gary Anderson and Yasar Aydin.
Being Turkey’s biggest name in darts, are you looking to inspire more Turkish players to make it in the BDO or PDC in future too?
There are a lot of good players in Turkey, and I am sure you will see them in the BDO and PDC in the future.
I don’t know if I’ve inspired somebody. Time will tell.
How is the darts scene in Turkey? Is there much popularity or TV coverage of darts in your country?
Darts is a new sport in my country. Not very popular.
Especially as darts is not found on TV channels or the news.
How do you balance playing darts, travelling to tournaments and your day job?
Actually, I do not have much balance. I have to sacrifice a lot to play darts.
Most of my needs are sponsored by Kronos. If not, I would not be playing darts in Europe.
You mentioned earlier about football. Do you follow a team in Turkey, and if so, what do you think of their season so far?
I like football. I’m a fan of Adana DemirSpor (who currently play in Turkey’s second-tier).
This season and the last 10 seasons have gone badly, but it doesn’t matter.
And finally, what are your ultimate goals in darts?
My biggest goal is to throw better darts, [and] of course to be in the PDC.
Many thanks to Umit for speaking to us this week, and all the best at Lakeside!