Van Veen aiming to build upon Development Tour success

Gian van Veen (Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe)

Gian van Veen believes his success on the Winmau Development Tour can provide the springboard for a strong end to the season on the senior PDC circuit.

Van Veen enjoyed a weekend to remember in Milton Keynes, celebrating his sixth Development Tour title of 2023 to finish top of the overall Development Tour Order of Merit.

The Dutchman then stormed through a star-studded 96-player field at the Marshall Arena in Sunday’s Winmau World Youth Championship to reach November’s decider.

Van Veen will renew his rivalry with Luke Littler for the £10,000 title, as the pair lock horns on Sunday November 26 at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, during the Cazoo Players Championship Finals.

Littler – a winner of five Development Tour titles this year – continued his stunning breakthrough season to become the youngest player to progress to a PDC World Youth Championship final.

The 16-year-old old dumped out second seed Keane Barry on his way to the final, before averaging almost 102 in his semi-final success against Poland’s Sebastian Bialecki.

However, Van Veen endured an equally tough route through to this year’s showpiece, dumping out reigning champion and top seed Josh Rock in a dramatic quarter-final clash.

The 21-year-old then edged out his fellow countryman Wessel Nijman in an enthralling last four showdown, surviving two match darts to progress with a 103 average.

“I did it the hard way,” admitted Van Veen, who also overcame Germany’s Dominik Gruellich and Irish Tour Card Holder Dylan Slevin in the knockout stages.

“I knew beforehand that if I made the quarter-finals I would potentially play Josh [Rock] and in the semi-finals I thought it would be Wessel, and it eventually was.

“I beat Wessel in a brilliant game. He missed a couple of match darts and I was lucky to get through, but I am really happy.

“I played well all weekend. I won a tournament, I won the Development Tour ranking and I made the [World Youth Championship final], so I’m over the moon.

“Hopefully it will be a fantastic game against Luke, and I’m really looking forward to that game in Minehead.”

Van Veen will return to action in this weekend’s Players Championship double-header in Hildesheim, as he bids to continue from where he left off at the Marshall Arena.

The talented youngster made back-to-back quarter-finals on the European Tour prior to July’s World Matchplay, boosting his hopes of qualifying for this year’s European Championship.

Van Veen is already assured of a place in November’s Grand Slam of Darts, and he will also make his highly-anticipated World Darts Championship debut at Alexandra Palace in December.

“This gives me so much confidence,” added Van Veen, who is also in the provisional qualification places for the Players Championship Finals.

“I had a couple of weeks holiday before last weekend so I didn’t know where my game was exactly, but I had a week of practice and it worked out well.

“In the next two weekends we have ProTour [tournaments] again, and then hopefully the weekend after a European Tour.

“I will take a lot of confidence from this weekend and who knows what can happen next week?”