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Darts star Deta Hedman still on point

HIGH FLYER: Deta Hedman in action

VETERAN DARTS player Deta Hedman is going back to school. Despite all her success, Deta is going back to basics when she attends the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) Q School.

The annual PDC qualifying school allows any player aged 16 or above the chance to compete to win a PDC tour card in January each year. Having won her first title back in 1987, Deta has enjoyed a stunning career that has seen her win over 130 British Darts Organisation (BDO) titles in four different decades, a record that stands across both the women’s and men’s game.

She has been ranked world number one on eleven different occasions, another record she is extremely proud holder of.

Deta, 59, is aiming to break more records during Q School a tournament that sees over 600 players battle it out in Wigan, attempting to win the tour card that will gain them entry onto the lucrative PDC tour, the most coveted circuit in darts.

Ahead of the tournament and she told the Voice of Sport of her ambitions for the year ahead and reflected on her time in the game so far. She admitted: “Yes I’m looking forward to Q School, because where we play in the BDO side, when you play a tournament on the floor, everybody’s screaming and shouting, supporting their friends.

“So, I just fancied something on the PDC side, where it is a lot more professional. When you play in one of their tournaments, if you lose a game it’s because you weren’t good enough, not because someone’s screamed next to you and put you off, which can happen quite a lot in the BDO.

Deta, whose nickname is ‘The Heart Of Darts,’ is no stranger to the elite side of the game as she has played in PDC events before and became the first woman to beat a man in a televised match when she defeated Aaron Turner in the 2005 UK Open.

She says she is aware of the challenge ahead of her but remains optimistic.

“I Just want to challenge myself and see what I can do. I’m under no illusions that I’m going to get a tour card, but if it happens, fantastic, but I just want to challenge myself.

“If I don’t get one, I’ll definitely be taking up some events on the PDC Challenge Tour as well as continuing the BDO tour, especially the higher ranked events.”

If she is unsuccessful in her pursuit of a tour card, Hedman will be going to Assen in the Netherlands in early February, to take part in The Dutch Open, one of the biggest events in the BDO calendar.

Hedman has won the event for the previous two years and is looking to defend her title again and make it a hat-trick. Currently ranked number one in the world, she is also the reigning Czech Open, Welsh Open, Denmark Masters, Romanian Classic and Polish Open champion.

Despite this overwhelming success Deta’s feet remain firmly on the ground: “I’ve been ranked world number one eleven different times, and I still have to go to work!”

CLASS ACT: The darts player remains highly ambitious

Hedman’s honours list is staggering and she is the current England Ladies captain having represented England on 53 occasions, second to only Trina Gulliver MBE in the appearances table.

As well as tremendous success on the board, Deta still has her job at The Royal Mail, and has recently become the very first youth ambassador for the England Darts Organisation.

The news was celebrated across the board as Deta has been heavily involved in youth darts for many years with her partner Paul James and his sister Linda.

“When I finished work I used to come up and offer a little support to the youth, I loved it, it was really good fun”.

Ladies darts was elevated this year when PDC chairman Barry Hearn announced that for the first time there would be two ladies qualifiers in the main tournament alongside the men.

Deta entered and narrowly missed out after losing in the semi-finals of the UK tournament, but she is delighted that ladies’ darts is beginning to get the recognition it deserves.

“Its progress, everything takes time, but the decision from the PDC to allow us to play was brilliant, and long may it continue”.

Deta says she would “love to see” the PDC set up a ladies tour after the success of her colleagues Lisa Ashton and Anastasia Dobromyslova in this year’s PDC World Championship.

However, for the meantime she is preparing to ply her trade at Q School to get herself onto the tour alongside the men.

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