British Number 1 darts legend proves age is no barrier to consistency and longevity although women are still fighting sexism in darts and professionalism is a long way off
Chris Stafford talks to Jamaican born Deta Hedman—aka The Dark Destroyer—who has been a leading international player for more than 40 years with over 100 rankings titles to her name making her a legend in the sport. She explains how women are still fighting sexism in darts with barriers to equality and recognition and no prospects of becoming professional. This means she has to maintain a full-time job—something she has done with the Royal Mail for many years.
Some of Deta’s most prestigious titles include the World Masters, Europe Cup, Las Vegas Desert Classic and Zuiderduin Masters. But it is the World Championship crown which has eluded her and remains top of her bucket list. With tournaments both at home in England and abroad every weekend, Deta stays as focused and motivated as ever, whether she is representing her Oxford Club or England. She tells us how her family moved to the UK when she was just a teenager and how, despite darts being a male dominated sport, she made her mark. She says she has always enjoyed playing men but when she beats them they are reluctant to admit they were beaten by a woman, even though she is one of the best players in the world.
When it comes down to winning there are some maths to close a game out: “The difference between winning a game and losing a game by knowing how to finish so they help me when I have a certain number left on the board; it doesn’t always work but in the correct way but so you can finish before the other player.”
Deta says that sexism and inequality are not the only challenges women face: “I’ve always said one of the things that a woman suffers with is the time of the month, we all do, it may sound silly but I know for my experience…I could get extra nervous, my head is everywhere, and stomach pains…and it gets in your mind.”
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