Female darts player refuses to play transgender opponent, forfeits match

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British female darts player Deta Hedman refused to play against a transgender competitor in the Denmark Open over the weekend and removed herself from the competition.

Hedman was set to face Noa-Lynn van Leuven in the quarterfinals of the tournament but opted not to play instead and forefeited. Hedman pushed back on reports she pulled out of the match due to an illness and also declined compensation she may have lost due to her decision.

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Deta Hedman at an event in London

Deta Hedman in action during day five of the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. (Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

“No fake illness I said I wouldn’t play a man in a ladies event,” Hedman wrote on X.

She 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.”

Van Leuven eventually lost to Beau Graves in the semifinals. Van Leuven defeated Graves in March in a women’s event in the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) as well as a mixed event.

Van Leuven told The Guardian last year that the transition began at the age of 16, and as van Leuven started to move into women’s competitive darts, the backlash began.

Deta Hedman dejected

England’s Deta Hedman stands dejected in the final of the Women’s BDO World Professional Darts Championships at the Lakeside Complex, Surrey. (PA Images via Getty Images)

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“I was getting more and more unhappy with myself, to a point that I didn’t want to live any more,” van Leuven told the outlet. “And that was the moment where I thought: I can go two sides now. I can end it, or I can live as who I want to live.”

PDC chief executive Matt Porter told The Guardian last year that van Leuven complies with the organization’s transgender participation policy. The PDC follows the Darts Regulation Authority’s policy, which is governed by the International Olympic Committee.

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Deta Hedman in 2015

Deta Hedman of England throws during her first round match against Lisa Ashton of England on day one of the BDO Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships at the Lakeside Complex on January 3, 2015 in Frimley, England.  (Harry Engels/Getty Images)

The IOC’s darts policy requires transgender female competitors to have a testosterone level below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months and that gender identity cannot be changed for at least four years. The transgender female may not have a “presumption of advantage” and the IOC advises sports to “disproportionate advantage, which needs therefore to be mitigated.”

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