First woman to beat man at darts championship says she hopes she's 'proven something'

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By Isobel van Hagen  with NBC News World News
Image: Fallon Sherrock reacts after winning her 1st round game against Ted
Fallon Sherrock said she had received "constant sexist comments saying women are not as good as men."   -  Copyright  Alex Davidson

LONDON — The dart made an emphatic thud as it pierced a slender red band on the dartboard, and Fallon Sherrock made history.

By hitting what is known as a double 18 on Tuesday evening, she became the first woman to win a match at the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) championship in London — a leading darts organizations.

"I have proven something for women's darts, that women can play the men and beat them," Sherrock, 25, told the crowd after she defeated Ted Evetts by three sets to two at Alexandra Palace, an iconic sports and entertainment venue in London, England.

Sherrock, who hails from a family of darts players, said she was "very excited" to face the 47-year-old Austrian, Mensur Suljovic, in the next round. There are a total of seven rounds in the tournament.

Sherrock, who is from Milton Keynes, a large town around 50 miles north of London, said she had received "constant sexist comments saying women are not as good as men," online.

"I do not see myself at a physical disadvantage," she said in a separate interview with the BBC on Wednesday. "We just do not get the opportunity to play against these men which is why you do not see it more often."

More TV coverage of women playing darts would help to expose the sport to women, said Sherrock.

Sherrock is only the fifth woman to ever play in a PDC event, which have traditionally been dominated by male players. Last year it ruled that at least two women had qualify to compete among the 96 players in the annual event.

High-level tournaments have traditionally been segregated by sex.

A simple game, the object is for one player to reach zero from a starting total of 501.

Taking turns, players throw three darts from the oche (pronounced okky), a mark nearly 9 feet away from the circular board, which is made up of segments, randomly numbered from one to 20 and delineated by wire.

Dressed in pink, Sherrock initially fell behind to Evetts, who is ranked at 77 in the world. But she would eventually overturn his early dominance, hitting six 180s - the highest score available - on her way to victory.

Her victory was praised by darts professionals, sports broadcasters and those from the entertainment world, including prominent British actor Stephen Fry.

Influential charity, the Women's Sports Trust, also hailed her achievement.

Calling it "a moment of history," Trustee Laura Weston said, "Fallon has not had an easy journey, but she has persevered.

"Traditionally, darts has been seen as a male sport so to see a professional female player competing alongside the men and winning is really significant. The reaction from the crowd could also be seen as proof of a wider cultural shift towards acceptance for sportswomen."

"Visibility is key for women's sport and this win has made Fallon a role model which will no doubt have a positive impact on her sport and beyond," she added.