For World Number two and New Zealand’s number one ranked darts player Haupai Puha, just being invited to compete at the 2023 Australian Darts Open is an “honour”.
The event being run at the Moama Bowling Club from 16-19 August showcases the best of Australian, New Zealand, and other International players all vying for up to $56,000 in prizemoney.
On the opening night of the competition Puha – who was the runner up at the 2022 iteration of the event, made light work of Australian Darren Carson winning his first match five legs to nil.
And speaking after his match, Puha was just happy to get the win which earns him the day off on Thursday, so he has time to recover from a bout of flu that hit on the way to the event.
“I came over with a bit of the man flu and am still working through it – am trying to mask it, so it was tough,” he said.
“I’m used to seeing it go in a lot more than that and obviously Darren didn’t play his best game which made it easier for me, but I want to play better, I want to put a show on for everyone – I am still happy to get the win.
“I think we get a day off now so that’s big – I can stay in bed for most of the day and try to recover a bit more.”
Puha said that he had a wonderful time at the event last year and he was stoked with his performance despite being unable to finish his good work in the final.
And while he has his eye on going one step further this week in Moama, he acknowledged that the quality of the field at the Open would make it a difficult task.
“The way I played last year was ridiculous and even though I had match darts I was stoked with where I finished.
“It would be good to go one better but it’s a great field.
“I would be lucky just to get out of my section at this stage so one game at a time and if I make it to the final then hopefully I can win it, but one game at a time.”
A humble Puha explained that just being a part of an event like this and being able to represent New Zealand through the process is something he doesn’t take for granted.
“It’s an honour firstly to get an invite to this event,” he said.
“It’s an honour to be able to represent New Zealand and our family and hopefully I can do well because it really means so much just to be invited here and to be part of such a great event.”
Keep up to date with how Puha fares and all the other action from the 2023 Australian Darts Open via the livestream, news, results and other info via: www.dartsaustralia.com/2023-australian-darts-open/