Four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton has slammed BDO selectors after they chose not to select a female representative to compete in this year’s Grand Slam of Darts.
The BDO revealed their eight representatives for the unique cross-code event on Wednesday morning, with reigning two-time world champion Glen Durrant headlining the field.
There had been speculation that Ashton could become the first female to compete in the Grand Slam since 2010, when PDC Women’s World Championship finalists Stacy Bromberg and Tricia Wright both received an invitation.
Anastasia Dobromyslova and Francis Hoenselaar also featured in the 2009 Grand Slam as a result of their respective World Championship triumphs, but Ashton has not been afforded such an opportunity.
‘The Lancashire Rose’ has dominated the BDO circuit over recent years; winning the Women’s World Championship in four of the last five years, whilst she also secured her second World Masters crown in Bridlington last weekend.
The 48-year-old competed on the PDC Challenge Tour last year and accrued £1,000 in prize money, and she took to social media to slam the BDO’s decision to overlook the option of including a female representative.
“Well, Grand Slam! I must say well done to the players that got in, and to the BDO selectors you still have no confidence in putting a lady player into the competition to promote the ladies game,” Ashton said.
“You need to hang your head in shame, you are supposed to take the game forward! As we have done for the ladies and still knock us down and we are supposed to make a new start for the BDO, when will it start then as the PDC have given us a go, so rant over,” she added.
Sky Sports experts Wayne Mardle and Rod Studd were among the high-profile names who voiced their support of Ashton on social media, with Studd writing: “Lisa is spot on. This is an opportunity completely and needlessly wasted by the BDO.
“The women’s World Champion should have a mandatory spot at the GSOD as she did previously. The best way to promote and develop women’s darts is to fast track the top players into major TV events.”
BDO world champion Glen Durrant will feature in his third consecutive Grand Slam as he bids to usurp his run to the quarter-finals twelve months ago. ‘Duzza’ was beaten by world number two Peter Wright in the last eight in 2017, despite having beaten Snakebite in the group-phase.
2018 BDO World Championship runner-up Mark McGeeney will make his second straight Wolverhampton appearance, whilst newly-crowned World Masters champion Adam Smith-Neale qualifies automatically as a result of his stunning triumph in Bridlington.
The remaining representatives are made up of the next five top ranked players on the BDO Order of Merit, with 2015 Lakeside champion Scott Mitchell and Wesley Harms both featuring at this event for the fourth time.
2018 Lakeside semi-finalist Michael Unterbuchner will make his Grand Slam debut, whilst Welsh star Jim Williams and BDO veteran Gary Robson will also appear in the cross-code event for the first time in their careers.
The £450,000 tournament will be held from November 10-18 at the Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton, with the first round seeing the 32 players split into eight groups, with the top two in each following the round robin phase progressing to the knockout last 16 onwards.