British darts star forfeits match after refusing to face trans player

British darts player Deta Hedman has forfeited a match after refusing to play trans opponent Noa-Lynn van Leuven.

Hedman, 64, pulled out of the Denmark Open when set to play defending champion 27-year-old Noa-Lynn van Leuven in the quarter finals, Fox News reported.

Although it was initially reported that she had pulled out due to illness, Hedman confirmed on Twitter/X that she refused to play Van Leuven.

“No fake illness, I said I wouldn’t play a man in a women’s event,” she wrote, misgendering Van Leuven.

British darts player Deta Hedman
Female darts player forfeits match after refusing to play trans opponent (Luke Walker/Getty Images)

“This subject [is] 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 went on to lose to Beau Greaves in the semi-finals. 

Former US college swimmer Riley Gaines, who has made a name for herself by campaigning against trans women competing in women’s sports, offered to pay Hedman’s lost prize money. The winner of the Denmark Open receives 12,000 Krona (approximately £1,400). 

Noa-Lynn van Leuven playing darts
Noa-Lynn van Leuven. (PDC Darts)

“Thank you for your kind offer,” Hedman replied. “Denmark Darts paid me out in full for the event.”

Matthew Porter, the chief executive of the Professional Darts Corporation, has previously spoken out in support of Van Leuven, explaining that she complies with the organisation’s transgender participation policy.

In an interview with Online Darts, he said: “We’ve got our policy in darts, it’s a policy we are very comfortable with. It’s here and it’s not going away.”

Hedman’s choice to forfeit follows several years of anti-trans campaigners trying to limit, or prevent altogether, transgender people taking part in professional sports. Sporting bodies including British Rowing, World Cycling and Badminton England have banned trans women from entering women’s events.

Trans swimmer Schuyler Bailar told PinkNews in 2022 that such policies “will endanger all women”, adding: “It enforces the policing of the women’s category and women’s bodies in order to exclude the trans ones – you have to police the category in order to exclude trans women.”