‘I wouldn’t play a man in a ladies event’: Female darts player refuses match against transgender competitor

News & Politics

A female darts legend forfeited a match in which she was set to compete against a transgender player and said she wasn’t willing to play against a man in a women’s event.

Deta Hedman, a British darts player who has defended women in her sport in recent months, refused to participate in a match against male competitor Noa-Lynn van Leuven in the Denmark Open tournament.

The two were set to face off in the quarterfinals, but Hedman refused to play.

The transgender player went on to the semifinals after the forfeiture but lost to British player and female Beau Graves. Van Leuven was actually the defending champion (2023), according to OutKick, and Hedman had won her sixth championship in 2022.

This was not the first time van Leuven has caused outrage in the sport. Less than two months prior to the tournament, two women dropped out of the Netherlands team over van Leuven’s inclusion.

Anca Zijlstra and Aileen de Graaf quit the team, with Zjilstra saying “I have tried to accept this, but I can not condone or justify this.”

De Graaf added that “at some point you have to make decisions if something goes against your feelings,” ABC News reported.

As for Hedman, she has made her stance on the issue clear. She has made multiple posts about protecting women’s sports, including a graphic on Facebook that read, “Women & Girls deserve to be champions in their own sports.”

She had also posted a simple image on X that read “protect women’s sports.”

As well, Hedman penned a lengthy article in Darts World about how far women have come in her sport and noted that “inclusivity” was a buzz word being thrown around, mostly by men.

Hill Barrs, a darts reporter from Denmark, called Hedman’s forfeiture into question and claimed she had told tournament organizers she was “ill and in pain” and therefore “unable to play.”

Hedman directly responded to these allegations in several remarks, first stating that he was posting “outright lies.”

In addition to saying she spoke directly with the tournament director, she also stated that she simply wouldn’t compete against a man in a women’s event.

“No fake illness I said I wouldn’t play a man in a ladies event . Don’t listen to Phil Barrs he knows sweet [f*** all], nor does his reliable source,” Hedman explained.

Barrs had told a reader that he had a reliable and trustworthy source but that the person “asked not to be named.”

Barrs took offence to Hedman’s statement and said her commentary was “transphobic.”

“Having the debate around Trans athletes in Women’s sport is one thing. But this comment calling a trans woman a man is simply transphobic and should be addressed by the sporting authorities as there should be no place for it,” he wrote on X.

In response, a reader posted a picture of van Leuven and called him a “cheat.”

Former NCAA swimmer and female sports activist Riley Gaines heard about the story and said that she was willing to pay the purse that Hedman missed out on by dropping out of the tournament.

“I must get into contact with Deta Hedman. I want to pay her the prize money she missed out on, just as Seth Dillon and I did with billiards player Kim O’Brien for taking the same stand. Bravery deserves to be rewarded,” Gaines said.

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