ST HELENS darter Michael Smith will make his first competitive outing as World Champion when he takes on local qualifier Abdulnasser Yusuf in the first round of the Bahrain Darts Masters on Thursday.

The PDC's World Series of Darts visits Bahrain for the first time this week in partnership with the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority, with the first of five international events this year taking place in the Dome at the Bahrain International Circuit on January 12-13.

Thursday's first round sees the eight PDC stars take on eight Asian representatives, which includes two local qualifiers from Bahrain who will be making their TV debuts.

New World Champion Smith, who also became world number one with his Alexandra Palace success last week, has drawn Manama-based mechanic Yusuf in their opening tie.

Fellow Bahrain qualifier Basem Mahmood, a banker from Manama, has drawn former Premier League champion Jonny Clayton for their meeting in the Dome.

Reigning World Series of Darts Finals champion Gerwyn Price will take on Singapore's veteran star Paul Lim, as the 68-year-old returns to the big stage.

World number two Peter Wright comes up against Japan's Toru Suzuki, while Yuki Yamada has drawn five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld.

The tournament will open with the meeting between Dimitri Van den Bergh and Philippines' Alain Abiabi, who is making his TV debut in Bahrain.

Luke Humphries' first appearance on the World Series of Darts circuit sees the world number five come up against Hong Kong's 23-year-old Man Lok Leung, while former World Champion Rob Cross drew India's Nitin Kumar.

The tournament draw was made on Tuesday night as the Bahrain Darts Masters was launched with local media and representatives from promoters Bahrain International Circuit and CBX.

Following Thursday's first round, the Bahrain Darts Masters concludes on Friday with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in one bumper session.

2023 Bahrain Darts Masters Draw .

Schedule of Play Thursday January 12 (1900 local time, 1600 GMT).

First Round: Dimitri Van den Bergh v Alain Abiabi, Rob Cross v Nitin Kumar, Luke Humphries v Man Lok Leung, Gerwyn Price v Paul Lim, Peter Wright v Toru Suzuki, Michael Smith v Abdulnasser Yusuf, Raymond van Barneveld v Yuki Yamada, Jonny Clayton v Basem Mahmood.

Friday January 13 (1900 local time, 1600 GMT), Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals, Final.

Prize Fund & Ranking Points Winner - £20,000 & 12 points, Runner-Up - £10,000 & 8 points, Semi-Finalists - £5,000 & 5 points, Quarter-Finalists - £2,500 & 3 points, First Round Losers - £1,250 & 1 point.