[…]

After the griping from Wayne Mardle and Eric Bristow, Anastasia Dobromyslova made her PDC World Championships debut today, losing five legs to three to Remco van Eijden (but still finishing with the third-highest three-dart average of any player in the preliminary round).

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the crowd’s huge support for her (shockingly, to the extent where they were booing every dart van Eijden threw).

I wasn’t so pleasantly surprised to see that Dobromyslova still had to walk on to the stage with pretty lady models accompanying her, albeit both carrying banners (one reading “Girl Power” decorated with a flower, and one reading “Women Rule” written in glitter).

Nor was I surprised to hear the television commentators tying themselves in knots about how best to describe her – through cliches about her sex (what with the darts terminology of “legs” and “lipstick”, they were in their element)? About her nationality (Sid Waddell compared her eyes to those of a Siberian sea-eagle at one point)? Or about her name (there were lots of references to being “regal” and “a princess”)?

And, sadly, nor was I surprised to see Wayne Mardle’s nauseatingly gleeful television interview after her defeat. Maybe he should take a leaf out of former world champion John Part’s book – when asked how he’d feel if he lost to a woman, he looked a bit puzzled and answered that he wouldn’t care; he’d feel the same if he lost to anyone, male or female.