Hedman is the current women’s world number two (credit:Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/PA Images)
Ladies darts legend Deta Hedman believes that men will “fear” the rise of women in the PDC World Championship.
Hedman has picked up 177 titles throughout her illustrious career and will now get the chance to qualify for the sport’s show-piece in November with two places up for grabs at Alexandra Palace.
But Hedman, 58, wants to lay down a marker by beating the likes of Rob Cross, Raymond van Barneveld and Mensur Suljovic at the SAP Frankfurt Darts Slam on Tuesday.
“There’s no doubt that men won’t want to play women, they will fear that in any major event,” Hedman told Live Darts.
“This is a healthy thing for the sport. It will be good for the women’s game to progress and I believe it can thanks to Barry Hearn opening this door to the World Championship.
“I think it would be good to for myself or Aileen de Graaf to beat Rob, Barney or Mensur in Frankfurt on Tuesday. Right now that timing would be perfect to prove what we are capable of.
“I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the women’s game and the men, in the majority anyway.”
Currently, the winner’s cheque for the women’s World Championship stands at just £12,000, while the two female qualifiers for the PDC World Championship will pocket a minimum of £7,500.
Hedman admits the chasm in prize money between the men’s and the women’s game is discouraging women from pursuing a career in the sport.
She added: “The advantage the top 10 of the world have is that they can do it full-time, they have consistent competition.
“The women’s game is in a Catch 22. We need more players and talent coming through, but we need that platform of competition.
“It would have been nice to have four places in the PDC World Championship but it is still progress for our game.
“I would love to qualify and make it to the Alexandra Palace but it will be tough. I’m delighted that Barry has given our game this chance though.”
Hedman is also keen on the idea of creating women’s Premier League, a round-robin style competition which she believes would encapsulate the growing female audience.
“The dream for me would be for a mini women’s Premier League,” she added. “That way the standard would get higher and we’d get more sponsors and more money in the game.
“We would then attract more players and it would escalate like the men’s game has.
“One of the biggest booms in the sport has been women spectating over the past few years. It’s a natural thing that the women’s game gets bigger now too.”
The ‘Heart of Darts’ Hedman lines up with Cross, Barney, Suljovic, Whitlock, de Graaf, Michael Smith and Max Hopp for the SAP Frankfurt Slam at The Palmengarten.