At the age of 15 St. Jago High school student Kailya Cheese began playing Darts - a sport which involves throwing small missiles at a target known as a dartboard. Today she is the reigning, and first ever female Caribbean Darts Youth champion, and was nominated for a 2019 Prime Minister Youth Award.
"When you express yourself through your chosen sport, you release stress, unwanted negativity and clear your head," the now 16-year-old told teenAGE. The sport has also strengthened her mathematical abilities due to the need for calculated moves while playing the sport. During a game, she's required to add, subtract, multiply and divide.
Dart is a great way for individuals to express themselves and release that unnecessary stress, and for Kailya, the sport helps her to express herself in a way that she didn't know she could.
Being ranked first in the region is almost an indescribable feeling for Kailya, and the TEEN is honoured to have been chosen to represent Jamaica.
Cheese highlighted that “Though my Darts journey is excellent so far, the Jamaica Darts Association faces a lot of challenges such as a lack of funding for the youth team.”
When asked about how she'd want the Darts Association to improve, she said “I'd love to see darts being played in other places such as Churches, schools and community centers. This will be good for the Association because it has been stigmatized as a "bar sport" many persons aren't comfortable with a bar being the venue.”
The consistent growth of the sport and improvement of the youth players keep her motivated on a daily basis. She is also inspired by her ability to make her parents and other family members proud.
Kailya is currently studying the humanities in sixth form at St. Jago High School, where she also presides over the institution's Darts club. Naturally, we were curious to find out how she managed her academics and social life while playing such a competitive sport.
She said “Darts players never get a break, as there are many different tournaments and training sessions all throughout the year, but from November to February the activities tend to lessen.”
Cheese also enjoys reading and listening to music. She therefore has to keep her eye on multiple targets in order to balance her social, academic and sporting life.
In the near future, the Darts champion would like to attend University to study communication and media, then pursue a career in journalism.
Keep shining Cheese!
"Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."~Shane Patton