Dutch women's darts veterans quit over transgender team-mate


Dutch women's darts veterans quit over transgender team-mate

Dutch women's darts veterans quit over transgender team-mate
Dutch women's darts veterans quit over transgender team-mateAFP
Dutch darts authorities Monday confirmed the resignation of two veteran women players after they refused to compete with a transgender woman in the country's national team.

Anca Zijlstra and Aileen de Graaf on Saturday said they were quitting because they no longer wanted to represent the Netherlands alongside Noa-Lynn van Leuven.

Zijlstra and De Graaf have "informed the Dutch Darts Association (NDB) they no longer wanted to be considered for national selection," the NDB said in a statement.

"The reason is that they do not want to play in the Dutch team with a transgender person.

"The NDB regrets this decision by Aileen and Anca," the federation said.

The NDB defended Van Leuven, the current women's world number six, saying it was "known to us that she has completed her transition from a man to a woman and that her gender identity is female.

"She meets all the requirements and therefore, according to a directive on gender and sex-diverse persons, is eligible to play in the women's category," the NDB said.

Zijlstra, currently ranked 12th by the World Darts Federation, in a Facebook post Saturday said the decision to quit was "with pain in my heart."

But "the moment you are ashamed to play for the Dutch Team because a biological man plays for the women's team, it is time to go.

"I believe in sports there should be an equal and fair playing field, which should be used and accepted in good faith," Zijlstra said.

Anca Zijlstra
Anca ZijlstraAFP

World number two De Graaf voiced similar sentiments.

Van Leuven last week won her first big event during the Challenge Tour in Germany, and this weekend won her first title in the PDC Women's Series in Wigan, northern England.

She told the NOS public broadcaster the commotion "has taken up a lot of my energy".

"I don't really feel the need to go into it any further. This was their choice and not mine," she said.

"The only sad thing about this issue is that a lot of people forget that I am also a human being," Van Leuven said.

The NDB thanked Zijlstra and De Graaf for their "years of dedication to the Dutch team".

But it added: "We stand for a sport where everyone feels at home and everyone can participate.

"It does not matter what your origin, political preference, gender, sexual orientation, race or religion is," the NDB said.

Darts is hugely popular in the Netherlands, both at amateur level but also professionally with the likes of Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen considered legends of the game.


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