Noa-Lynn van Leuven makes history in the second weekend of Challenge Tour at Halle 39 in Hildesheim, with non-PDC Tour Card Holders who attended 2024 Qualifying Schools in action at the double-header event

Noa-Lynn van Leuven became the first woman to win a darts Challenger Tour event on Friday

 

Noa-Lynn van Leuven became the first woman to win a darts Challenger Tour event with victory at Event Six in Hildesheim, Germany.

 

Van Leuven, who is a trans woman, produced a string of superb displays to clinch the £2,500 top prize, defeating four PDC title winners to become the 11th player to prevail on debut on the Challenge Tour circuit.

 

The Dutch trailblazer dispatched Switzerland’s Event Four winner Stefan Bellmont, her compatriot Alexander Merkx and Darryl Pilgrim to advance to a quarter-final showdown against John Henderson.

 

The two-time Women’s Series finalist then rounded off a landmark triumph with a 5-3 victory against Poland’s former Tour Card Holder Tytus Kanik, producing a ton-plus average in the process.

 

The title earned Van Leuven the top prize of £2,500, which also moved her directly up to seventh place on the PDC Challenge Tour Order of Merit.

 

In 2023, Van Leuven qualified for the Women’s World Matchplay, making her the first ever transwoman to appear at a televised tournament at the PDC.

 

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Later in the day, Rene Eidams secured a landmark win of his own in Event Seven, recovering from 3-0 down to deny Dutchman Dennie Olde Kalter in a dramatic last-leg shoot-out.

 

Eidams – who famously took Michael van Gerwen to a tie-break on his World Darts Championship debut in 2016 – saw off a host of high-profile names en route to glory on home soil.

 

The top two players from the Challenge Tour Order of Merit will win a PDC Tour Card for 2025-26 and a place in the 2025 World Darts Championship.

 

2024 Winmau Challenge Tour

Friday March 15, Halle 39, Hildesheim

Event Six

Quarter-Finals

Noa-Lynn van Leuven 5-3 John Henderson

Cam Crabtree 5-1 Charlie Martin

Tytus Kanik 5-1 Sebastian Bialecki

Aden Kirk 5-2 Danny Jansen

 

Semi-Finals

Noa-Lynn van Leuven 5-2 Cam Crabtree

Tytus Kanik 5-4 Aden Kirk

 

Final

Noa-Lynn van Leuven 5-3 Tytus Kanik

 

PDC chief executive Matt Porter explains why Van Leuven’s participation at the Women’s Matchplay Darts is an important milestone for the sport

 

She became the first trans woman to play in a TV darts tournament at the Women’s World Matchplay where she feel to defeat against Beau Greaves in the opening round.

 

In her interview, Van Leuven admitted she fell out of love with darts and quit the sport before her transition started in 2022.

 

She said: “I never really got into a group with people around darts. I was really unhappy with myself so my darts game wasn’t that good. When you’re not feeling great then nothing in life will be really, really good. I quit darts and then I became a happier version of myself but then I really wanted to start playing darts again.

 

“I tried to enjoy life as much as possible. I transitioned before going through a lot of meetings with a psychologist.”

 

Explaining to her family and friends what she was undergoing proved one of the hardest moments in her life.

 

“It was really tough,” said Van Leuven. “I told a really good friend of mine and she was really supportive but she also said I had to tell my mum.

 

“I think it was about a week later when I told her and a week later I was already at the doctors and I think it took me a couple more months before I told my dad and other family members, but they were all really supportive to me. It was really nice which has really helped me through everything.”

 

The Premier League continues with Night Eight in Dublin on Thursday, March 21, as Luke Humphries opens his bid for a third consecutive nightly win against Peter Wright.

 

Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price will aim to halt their losing runs when they go head-to-head, Luke Littler will play Michael Smith for a place in the semi-finals, while Nathan Aspinall and Rob Cross also collide in the Irish capital.

 

Quarter-finalsLuke Humphries vs Peter WrightNathan Aspinall vs Rob CrossMichael van Gerwen vs Gerwyn PriceLuke Littler vs Michael Smith

 

 

Gideon Canice

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