She is Team Unicorn’s very own ‘Golden Girl’ - one of the best players around and Irina Armstrong is on course to take the ladies darts world by storm over the next few years.
The big target is to reach the World Championship at Lakeside and she is on course to achieve her dream of following in the footsteps of another Russian – current World Champion Anastasia Dobromyslova.
Currently ranked No.1 by the Ladies Darts Association, Irina is at No.6 in the WDF rankings and No.6 with the BDO. She is battling with the likes of Karin Krappen, Carla Molema, Karen Lawman and Julie Gore for those prized automatic spots at the World Championship…..but she has the ability and the confidence to achieve that goal
Her big claim to fame so far is winning a treasured World Cup crown, when Irina teamed up with Anastasia to lift the World Cup Ladies Pairs title for Russia in October 2007.
But it has been quite a time for Irina, whose achievements are all the remarkable when you consider she juggles her darts with being a full-time Mum!
She is the current German Gold Cup Champion and has also won the Open Dortmund and the prestigious Open Holland title – beating Dutch No.1 Molema on all three occasions!
The World Cup win was the ultimate highlight so far
Irina and Anastasia beat Sweden’s Carina Ekberg and Maud Jansson 4-2 in the final in Holland, after seeing off hometown favourites Francis Hoenselaar and Carla Molema 4-0 in the semi-finals.
The Russian girls were the dominant pair throughout the World Cup. In the opening stages of the competition, they won all four group matches 4-0.
She said: “I always knew that either Anastasia or I could win a first world title for Russia but what better than to win it together.”
Recently, Irina has also won the Open Belgium Pairs with Marie Therese van Welt, the Open Finland title with Tarja Salminen, the Open Germany Pairs with Carina Ekberg and now the ultimate Pairs crown – the World Cup.
She has enjoyed a golden run - leaping from No.135 in the World Darts Federation rankings to a secure spot in the top 10, which is an unbelievable achievement! In the Ladies Darts Association, she is ranked first – ahead of Francis Honselaar and Trina Gulliver.
There is no doubt that Irina Armstrong is now firmly established as one of the best and with the backing of Unicorn, the message is: “The journey has only just begun!”
And it has been quite a journey for the ‘Ice Baby’. Born in Russia, married to an Englishman and living in Germany, after previously living in Holland! Unicorn believes she has what it takes and so does the lady herself!
Quite simply, she is one of the most consistent players on the Ladies Tour over the last couple of years.
She won the 2007 Belgium and Finland Open Singles and Pairs titles and came very close in both Germany and Switzerland. Irina has also played alongside the likes of Darryl Fitton, Martin Adams and John Walton in mixed triples tournaments.
She is highly-rated all over the world of darts. The ultimate goal though, remains the World Championship and one more good result could yet clinch her a place at Lakeside.
She has taken on and beaten all the top Ladies players in the world at the moment and she is a feared opponent.
It has been a terrific rise, when you consider that she only started playing darts seven years ago and has already built up quite a reputation in Germany and throughout Europe. “I am the girl that the guys hate to play!” she said.
Irina explained: “I used to play competition 10 pin bowling but it got so difficult when I was pregnant with my son, that I thought I would give darts a try and I found out that I was quite good! It all went from there”
She was born in Vologda in 1970 and met her English husband John in Germany 12 years ago. They have two children – Christian and Ksenia, so every day is a challenge with English, Russian and German being spoken in tandem!
They ran the Avalon Darts Café in Maastricht for two years but sold up because it meant 120 hours a week commitment but the pair still play there. They currently live in a small village called Breberen, which is just five minutes drive from the Dutch border.
Irina has always used Unicorn signature darts. “They are great to play with but the ones I used were discontinued. I contacted Unicorn, who sent me a sample of the replacement darts and unbelievably, I threw a 9-darter in practice! I have to say, that apart from the birth of my two children, this link up with Unicorn is one of the proudest moments of my life.”
She is hoping to turn professional in the next 12 months, if she can secure additional sponsorship to the deal she already enjoys with Unicorn.
Team Unicorn Global will continue to lend its support to Irina Armstrong and we will monitor her progress with interest as she chases her dream.
‘The Ice Baby’ has already shown her coolness on the big darts stages around the world….let’s hope she can turn up the heat on her big rivals in the ladies game.