Women's Sport: A turbulent competition at the BDO World Darts Championship

BDO Darts Championships 2020 - Day Eight

Despite Fallon Sherrock catapulting female darts onto a global platform at the PDC World Championship in December, the BDO World Championship hasn't caught the public's imagination in the same way.

Only 15 per cent of tickets had been sold at the start of the event, and Sherrock herself pulled out at the last minute, following the announcement that for the female players, the winner's fund had been reduced to £8000, £12,000 less than the £20,000 that had been promised. For those who reached the quarter-final, they won £650. 

Sherrock told the BBC that she pulled out due to "unexpected changes". She added: "I love playing in the World Championships. It was a really hard decision for me to make."

It seems Sherrock was not alone in facing such a decision. The Guardian reports that one of this year's semi-finalists, Corrine Hammond, says she wasn't sure if she should enter the event: “We were put in the position that we didn’t really know what we were doing. There was a lot of back-and-forth about what is actually happening? What are we playing for? What is the end result?”

In fact, the husband of one competitor Tony Martin a darts player himself and husband of Anastasia Dobromyslova who has one the champion three times and reached this year’s quarter-finals, set up a GoFundMe page to increase the ladies' prize fund.

It is the first year that the event has been held at the O2, and reports from the event have been of empty seats. Before this year, the event had been held at Lakeside in Surrey. The event also failed to attract a sponsor.

The BDO's credibility is on the line. Not least following the World Masters last November when they had to do the draw twice due to omitting players initially. The mishap caused the World Darts Federation to strike them from its list of recognised darts organisations.

Mikuru Suzuki defended her title winning the event again this year. But she might not continue competing in BDO events for long. She nearly beat Sherrock to becoming the first woman to win against a man at the PDC last month, losing narrowly to James Richardson. Suzuki and Sherrock will be hoping to qualify for the PDC main tour this year. 

If Sherrock attracted new fans to the sport, the BDO didn't manage to capitalise on this. It remains to be seen if they will be able to in the future.

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