Female darts star Deta Hedman refuses to face transgender player and forfeits tournament

British darts player Deta Hedman forfeited her place at the Denmark Open (Picture: Getty)

Female darts star Deta Hedman has withdrawn from the Denmark Open after refusing to take on a transgender opponent and called for a blanket ban on trans women in female events.

Hedman, 64, had been drawn against Noa-Lynn van Leuven – the defending champion – at the quarter-final stage, but forfeited her chance to go any further in the tournament in which the winner takes home prize money of 12,000 DKK (£1,400).

It had initially been reported that Hedman pulled out due to illness, though the veteran Brit – an established figure in the darts world – confirmed this was not the case on X, writing: ‘No fake illness, I said I wouldn’t play a man in a ladies event’.

‘I’m not playing against a man in a women’s event,’ Hedman later told German publication Bild.

Hedman, a known critic of rules allowing transgender women in women’s competitions prior to this month’s tournament in Esbjerg, Denmark, subsequently took to X to demand ‘fairness in women’s sport’ in a post directed at Save Women’s Sport.

In the message, Hedman also confirmed that she had been paid for competing at the Denmark Open after Riley Gaines – a former US swimmer – offered to shell out for any financial hit she may have taken.

‘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 had written on X, prompting Hedman to respond: ‘Thank you for your kind offer, but Denmark Darts paid me out in full.’

Tagging Save Women’s Sport in the latter half of her post, Hedman added: ‘This subject causing much angst in the sport I love.

‘People can be whoever they want in life but I don’t think biological born men should compete in women’s sport.’

It comes after female pool player Lynne Pinches turned down her first professional contract in the sport, with the 50-year-old refusing to do battle with transgender champion Harriet Haynes in the finals of the English Pool Association’s 2023 Champion of Champions Ladies.

Hedman, a three-time runner-up at the BDO World Darts Championship, made her stance clear when it came to trans women competing in women’s sport back in December.

The Jamaica-born player stressed that she had ‘no problem’ with transgender people but found it ‘wrong since day one’ that trans individuals could freely take part in women’s ranked events.

‘For many months I’ve struggled with transgenders playing in the women’s world ranked events,’ she wrote in a post on social media.

‘I have thought this is wrong since day one, I have no problem with transgenders in life… Noa is a really nice person, nobody is disputing that at all… it’s just my belief and many other women players’ belief that trans shouldn’t be in women’s ranked events.’

Beau Greaves, the two-time world champion, sealed the Denmark Open title in some style after ending Van Leuven’s reign with an emphatic 4-0 victory at the semi-final stage.

The 20-year-old Brit went on to get her hands on the trophy after storming to a 5-2 win over Lorraine Hyde in this year’s final.

Connor Scutt delivered a sublime performance in the men’s event to take the crown, beating Jimmy van Schie 6-1 in a one-sided final.

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