Dobromyslova slams ‘ridiculous’ women’s prize fund

Three-time women’s world champion Anastasia Dobromyslova has criticised the significant reduction in prize money for the 2020 BDO Women’s World Championship, labelling the current situation as ‘ridiculous’.

Dobromyslova progressed to the last eight at the Indigo at The O2 on Tuesday to set up a quarter-final clash against holder Mikuru Suzuki, but in her post-match interview with Tungsten Tales, the Russian hit out at the dwindling prize pot on offer this week.

Suzuki claimed £12,000 for her triumph at Lakeside last year and BDO Chairman Des Jacklin vowed to increase the winner’s prize to £20,000 in 2020. However, failure to obtain a title sponsor coupled with poor ticket sales means this year’s winner is in line to walk away with £8,000.

The prize fund has been similarly decimated in the men’s competition. Recent winners have received £100,000 in prize money and initial reports suggest that the 2020 champion will pocket £50,000 – with the total prize fund slashed by 50%.

Tony Martin, the current BDO Italian Open champion and husband of Dobromyslova, launched a fundraiser last week in a bid to raise the prize fund for the leading ladies – some of whom are barely able to cover the cost of travelling and staying in London throughout the event.

In an interview with The Metro, Martin explained the premise behind the Go Fund Me page, which has already raised over £1,800, declaring: “The players have been lied to for the last 18 months under this regime, before that, years and years.

“Whether they do actually give them that money, your guess is as good as mine. ‘It’s crazy, it’s unfortunate it’s come to this. It looks like you’ve got the begging bowl out looking for some funds, but what else can you do?’

The women’s game has received unprecedented coverage over the last month following Fallon Sherrock’s ground-breaking exploits at Alexandra Palace, where she became the first woman in history to register a win at the PDC World Championship.

Sherrock defeated Development Tour winner Ted Evetts and 11th seed Mensur Suljovic before succumbing to Chris Dobey in round three, although her success became mainstream news across the globe, with the New York Times among the publications reporting on her progress.

Nevertheless, in a further blow to the BDO, 2015 finalist Sherrock opted to withdraw from the BDO World Championship, instead opting to participate in the Celebrity World Cup alongside the likes of Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Phil Taylor in Germany last weekend.

The change of venue to the Indigo has been met with a generally positive reaction following the BDO’s long association with Lakeside Country Club, although Dobromyslova admitted she was more perturbed by the financial crisis surrounding the organisation.

“[The venue] is a venue. I’m more concerned about the ladies’ prize fund, rather than an arena. It’s just another venue really. My husband had to set up a page raising money for the ladies’ prize fund which I think is ridiculous,” the 35-year-old told Tungsten Tales.

The former Grand Slam of Darts participant was equally critical of her own display when speaking to host broadcaster Eurosport. Dobromyslova averaged 64.51 in her straight sets win over Sharon Prins, in a match which saw her squander 35 darts at a double.

“I think it was disgusting [the performance]. I shouldn’t even be playing the World Championship really. Shocking. I need to probably go downstairs and think what I am doing wrong,” Dobromyslova told Eurosport.

“There’s mixed feelings. I don’t want to go into too much detail but it gets to the players in the end I think. I just need to try and rip this page out of my diary. I’m speechless. It’s ridiculous.”

Dobromyslova boasts a remarkably consistent record at the BDO World Championship, having reached at least the semi-finals in nine of her ten previous appearances, lifting the title in 2008, 2012 and 2013.

However, the three-time winner is well aware that she will have to significantly improve against defending champion Suzuki, who averaged 84.92 in her first round success over Maria O’Brien – the highest average in the women’s tournament thus far.

Photo Credit: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

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