The Ladies of Darts

A female colleague of mine wanted to know why darts is dominated by portly men and where are the girls? I told her to get down the pub on a darts night and there should be plenty of women playing. Darts is not just a sport for the men. Women are just as adept at tossing the tungsten, and I have played against many women, and many of the have been a lot better than me. Unfortunately, professional female darts players barely get a look compared to the men.

Although a lot of women do play darts, becoming professional is hard as the prize money is negligible and television coverage is minimal to the point of non-existent. Even with sponsorship, it is next to impossible for a woman to forge a full-time career playing darts. Although many major darts tournaments are now open to women, they still tend to get knocked out in the early rounds thanks to their stunted professional development. In reality, there is no reason why a female dart player should not be as good as her male counterpart, but making that jump from casual amateur to professional is an almost unbridgeable gap.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There are some well known professional female dart players out there, and as darts is going through a major boom, hopefully we will see some of the girls challenge the big boys sooner than later.

Here’s a rundown of some of the top female dartists:

Trina “The Golden Girl “ Gulliver

Gulliver is the most celebrated of all professional female darts players. She has won seven Women’s World Championships since the tournament’s inception in 2001, and has four World Masters titles along with a laundry list of accolades. She has been sponsored by leading darts manufacturer Winmau for over ten years. Gulliver has also been very outspoken about the lack of prize money available in women’s competitions compared to the men’s.

Francis Hoenselaar

Francis “The Dutch Crown” Hoenselaar is currently ranked as the number one female dart player in the world, and is the reigning Women’s World Champion. Before winning the title, she appeared in the final on five other occasions only to finish as runner-up to Trina Gulliver. She faced Gulliver again in this year’s final, but this time came out on top, and became the third woman to win the Women’s World Championship.

Anastasia Dobromyslova

At just 24, Anastasia Dobromyslova is one of the rising stars of women’s darts. She has only entered the Women’s World Championship twice. In 2007, she reached the semi-finals, and in 2008, she ended Trina Gulliver’s domination of the competition, becoming the second woman to win the Women’s World Championship. Dobromyslova split from the British Darts Organisation (BDO) to join the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) at the end of 2008, and in doing so, forfeited the chance to defend her title.

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