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STOCKPORT COLLEGE^S Darts Academy received a boost with the visit of three top PDC stars on Wednesday as they launched a sponsorship deal from Coca-Cola.

The Stockport College Darts Academy was launched in 2009 inside the Academy of Sport at the campus, giving talented young players the chance to receive professional tuition as well as compete on a regular basis.

Many top PDC players have visited the Darts Academy since its launch to play alongside the students and offer advice, with World Champion Adrian Lewis and Simon Whitlock on hand to launch Coca-Cola^s sponsorship on Wednesday ahead of their Premier League Darts clash in Manchester 24 hours later.

"The Stockport College Darts Academy is leading the way in breeding the future stars of darts, and we^re delighted that Coca-Cola have joined the PDC in supporting the Darts Academy," said PDC Director Rod Harrington.

"The recent introduction of the PDC Unicorn Youth Tour has given young players a stepping-stone towards the full PDC circuit, and with Michael Smith hitting a nine-dart finish in the second event it shows how much talent is out there both within the Stockport College Darts Academy and worldwide.

"The future of darts is looking very rosy - in fact the future^s Coca-Cola red!"

Lee Cambray, Stockport College^s Academy of Sport Manager, said: "It^s fantastic to have the backing and support of Coca-Cola and it^s a huge boost for the Darts Academy.

"Coca-Cola have already shown their commitment by rebranding our darts room within the Academy of Sport, including the provision of a ^match board^ alongside the seven practice areas.

"As well as developing the skills of the students at the Darts Academy, they can play in a professional area to learn how to handle the pressure of top-class darts."

While Lewis and Whitlock will do battle on the oche at the M.E.N. Arena on Thursday night, they joined forces alongside PDC Unicorn Under-21 World Champion Arron Monk to play against some of the students at Stockport College.

"It^s great that Coca-Cola are supporting the Stockport College Darts Academy," said Lewis, the 25-year-old World Darts Champion.

"I^ve been along a couple of times and there is a lot of talent amongst the young players - they were hitting 140s and 180s against me for fun and I^ve been impressed by the players."

Whitlock, who was the runner-up in the 2010 World Championship, said: "I^m a big supporter of bringing through the young players in the game and with big name like Coca-Cola backing the Stockport College Darts Academy it^s a sign that they are doing things in the right way."

Hampshire^s Arron Monk, who won the PDC Unicorn Under-21 World Championship title in January, said: "The Stockport College Darts Academy is a great initiative and will provide lots of opportunities for young players.

"I was a part of the Andover Darts Academy for three years and that was a huge help for me before I became a professional. Hopefully I can play against some of the Stockport College students on the PDC circuit in years to come."


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