Deta Hedman will make her PDC World Darts Championship debut on Saturday
Deta Hedman says there will be “no pressure” when she makes her PDC World Darts Championship debut on Saturday.
The 61-year-old begins her campaign against Andy Boulton in Saturday’s evening session.
“I will enjoy every moment,” Hedman told BBC Sport.
“It’s no pressure. I just take it in my stride. There is no point putting pressure on yourself. I am excited about it.”
It is not the first time Hedman has made history in the sport she took up in 1973. She was the first woman to beat a man in a televised major when she defeated Aaron Turner in the 2005 UK Open.
Hedman has spent several years as women’s world number one and, having won a total of 215 titles, currently sits second in the rankings behind the Netherlands’ Aileen de Graaf.
Despite her many achievements in the sport, Hedman said she was “sobbing like a baby” after she discovered she had unexpectedly qualified for the World Championship.
A series of four women’s events offered two qualifying spots and Lisa Ashton claimed the first of these.
When Fallon Sherrock, who became the first woman to win a World Championship match in 2019, won the last tournament in the series Hedman was sure she had missed out on a place at darts’ showpiece event.
But she edged through, with 85 legs won to Sherrock’s 83, and Hedman said the feeling was “out of this world”.
“My 61st birthday was coming up [before the final event in the qualifying series] so I just went to get some money,” Hedman explained.
“I didn’t have any expectation whatsoever. [Tournament director] Graham Fairhurst came over and told me I had qualified by two legs. I said: ‘Don’t be winding me up because I won’t be happy.’
“I had this towel and I just put my head in it and cried like a baby.”
Qualifying for her first PDC World Championship is an important milestone for Hedman, but she is now predominantly focused on being an ambassador in her sport.
After sharing the story of her childhood in Jamaica earlier this year, Hedman has been contacted by a school on the island and she hopes to help promote darts among its pupils.
Closer to home, she is England Darts’ youth ambassador and is a member of the World Darts Federation Players’ Commission.
Hedman’s impressive CV, which also includes night shifts at Royal Mail, saw her included on the 2020 BBC 100 Women list.
She hopes that with her appearing at Alexandra Palace, “a few more Afro-Caribbean kids will be interested in the game” and “that more young girls will think they can make it a career”.
Putting all her selfless wishes aside for a moment, Hedman said winning would be quite nice too.
“Fingers crossed I can get through a couple of matches,” she said.
“To get through the first round would be awesome. But at the end of the day, I’m just hoping to play well. That is all I want to do.”

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