NDB Respond To Zijlstra and De Graaf’s Withdrawal

Red Dragon Darts

The Dutch Darts Association (NDB) have issued a statement following their veteran player Anca Zijlstra’s decision to no longer making herself available for the Dutch women’s team. The Limburg veteran, who has represented the Netherlands for more than 30 years, cited her disquiet at playing alongside Noa Lynn van Leuven:

The moment when you feel ashamed to play for the Dutch team because a biological man plays on the women’s team, it’s time to go. I have tried to accept this, but I cannot condone or accept it. I believe that sports should be an equal and fair playing field, handled and accepted as such in good conscience. After all, we have worked so hard to be relevant and competitive in this sport

Anca Zijlstra via Facebook

Zijlstra’s fellow Dutch international, and recent World Championship and Dutch Oen runner up, Aileen de Graaf joined her compatriot in bowing out of contention for selection:

At some point you have to make choices when something goes against your feelings. You have to do what feels right for you. Hence my decision to leave the Dutch team

Aileen De Graaf

With two of their longest serving and most successful players making such a clear statement, it was inevitable that the NDB would clarify their position:

 The NDB understands that people can have different opinions about this, but we follow the rules and guidelines that have been drawn up. In addition, we stand for a sport of darts where everyone feels at home and everyone can participate.

We believe it is important that 100 percent of people feel welcome at the NDB in a socially safe, healthy and inclusive sporting environment. In this, it does not matter what your origin, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, race or religion is.


Noa-Lynn has replied to the furore so far with;

I don’t really feel the need to go further into it. This has been their choice and not mine. I think the only unfortunate thing about this issue is that a lot of people forget that I am also a human being

Noa-Lynn van Leuven via NOS.nl

The issue of qualification/eligibility for the Women’s category in multiple darts organisations events has been bubbling away for some time. Deta Hedman also recently expressed her view which concluded:

This argument is not to help me at 64 I could walk away from the sport I love tomorrow this is for the Eleanor Cairns, Aurora Fochesato, Paige Pauling , Hannah Meek etc starting their dart careers , if we are going to have a girls or womens world champs it should be the gender of your birth , which in my view is a fair and level playing field . These are my views and not the policy of WDF, England darts or any of my sponsors ! Maybe its time to make our feelings known to the powers that be or accept the current situation .

Deta Hedman

It seems likely that a fuller and franker conversation is needed, and must soon be had, by many if not all organisation claiming a role in the development and well being of women’s darts.


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