Deta Hedman has revealed that she was the victim of a sickening racist tirade following her first-round exit at the BDO World Championship.
Hedman, a three-time Women’s World Championship finalist, was beaten in straight sets by her doubles partner Maria O’Brien on Sunday afternoon at the Lakeside. ‘The Heart of Darts’ has won over 130 ranking titles in an astonishing career, but the World Championship is the one major title that has thus far proven elusive.
The 59-year-old received an abusive email shortly after the conclusion of her match, which has now been reported to police. However, since her ordeal became public knowledge, she has received an incredible outpouring of support from fans and players on social media, including PDC stars Robbie Green and Paul Nicholson.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror’s Mike Walters, Hedman said: “This latest message came through after I lost my match on Sunday. I didn’t do a TV interview because I was really quite mad at myself for playing not so well.
“Afterwards I had a look at my phone to see if there were any messages and there was an email saying, ‘Go kill yourself you f****** ugly n*****, you’re a disgrace to darts’.
“I showed it to my other half, Paul, and he was absolutely mad as hell. He was incensed. The name it came from looked Finnish and Paul said we need to check with the Finland Darts Organisation to see if they can find who it is.
“Paul sent him an email and he has actually replied – saying exactly the same thing again. Paul said he would send it to the sender’s employer, and he said, ‘He’s racist as well’.
Hedman believes that racism remains a prevalent issue within sport and alarmingly she revealed that she has also encountered racist abuse on other occasions. “Racism in sport is still there – it never went away, believe you me. One prime example: I was in the Czech Republic and a person with an English accent actually went, ‘I didn’t know they trained a monkey to play darts’.
Hedman is a wonderful ambassador for darts and is without doubt a pioneer for the women’s game, and she admitted that she was overwhelmed by the messages of support she received. Nevertheless, she insists that the disgusting behaviour of one mindless troll won’t deter her, as she bids to win a coveted Tour Card at PDC Qualifying School later this month.
“What got me, not in a bad way, was reading nice comments on social media. They made me cry more than what that guy said. He’s just one idiot – but I was sat at work and the tears were flooding with the kind comments from people.
“I’m really looking forward to going to Q School next week – getting through that would make up for losing at Lakeside and the email abuse. I won’t give up, that’s for sure.”
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