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'There is no reason why women can't beat men at darts'

After last year's historic win, darts queen Fallon Sherrock is eager to return By Kevin Palmer

SHE is the single mum trying to juggle hectic home life with autistic son Rory and a sporting career that has exploded in thrilling fashion in 2020, yet darts queen Fallon Sherrock is taking it all in her stride.

Sherrock shot to worldwide fame when she became the first woman to beat a man at the PDC World Darts Championship last December, before backing up her historic first win with a stunning victory against world number 11 Mensur Suljovic, ensuring her life changed in an instant.

Appearances on TV shows around the globe followed as she was hailed as one of the new faces of women's sport, with the adulation that came her way more than a little overwhelming for the 25-year-old from Milton Keynes in England.

"Everything in my world changed overnight last December and that was tough to deal with," she told Magazine+ at a Paddy Power event.

"This celebrity and fame thing is all new to me, but I just had to bite the bullet and go with it and I've handled it quite well so far.

"You probably never get used to people recognising you in the street. There has also been a little bit of abuse flying on social media and that has not been nice, but the majority of the attention that has come my way has been positive.

"The challenge now is to see if I can build on what I have done so far and try to take on the men and start winning matches consistently.

"There is no reason why women can't beat men at darts. We just need more opportunities more often and if we get that, it won't be that people see it as a woman playing a man. It will be just seen as two good players playing against each other."

Sherrock admits the media scrutiny into her family life has been hard to deal with, even if she admits her son Rory likes the fact that his mummy is famous.

"I was not prepared for the media looking around my family and trying to find out about my personal life," she continues.

"To me, I just go and play my darts and I play it because I enjoy doing it. I never thought it would mean people would know about my family and start looking into my background, but I guess that is all part of being in a high-profile sport.

"Rory has had to get used to his mummy being a little bit famous and I'm 100pc sure he tells his friends about that! I reckon he likes the fact that people know who I am and he has been great to keep me grounded in the last few months.

"My life has changed, but he doesn't notice the difference. I'm still his mummy who gets him his dinner every night.

"He got used to me being on TV before the lockdown and he has kept asking me why I'm not on any more, but he has got used to me being at home a lot more.

"We played a lot of online darts during the lockdown and Rory doesn't understand that he needs to be quiet when I am playing Phil Taylor or whoever it might be online.

"I've only got a two-bed house, a tiny little house. So the only place I can put a dartboard in is my living room. It causes some problems with the noise and with Rory, trying to keep him quiet for three hours, because that doesn't work.

"I'm paranoid that people can hear him when we are playing matches on the internet.

"This is me playing at home in a comfortable environment so it's good for me. My sister sits with him when I'm playing and he gets little treats to stay quiet and he has been a good boy, thankfully."

With big financial offers coming Sherrock's way after her heroics at the World Championships, the timing of the sporting shutdown has potentially cost the golden girl of darts a small fortune, but she hopes the deals that were in place can now be revived.

Yet Sherrock is preparing to make a return to action with more than a little trepidation, as she admits her long-running kidney complaints make her vulnerable to the threat posed by Covid-19.

"The only thing I worry about is if they lift the restrictions and don't have it under control," she adds. "My concern is if there is no cure for it and they are still trying to manage it, my worries will come in, especially with a kidney problem.

"We can all get back to some kind of normality soon and hopefully all the plans that were falling into place for me will come about. How's your luck when a global pandemic hits when everything seems to be going your way.

"I just have to hope the offers that were being made will still be there for me when we start playing darts in front of crowds again. Who knows when that will be."

Irish Independent

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