Barry Hearn spoke at the recent Target Sports Stars Fishing Championship about a variety of topics including about the potential inclusion of Mikuru Suzuki and Leighton Bennett, the BDO Ladies and World Youth Champions in the Grand Slam field.

Hearn said that he recommends they do exactly that; also that they should also include Glen Durrant who switched over to the PDC at the turn of the year also. He added that he believes they are there on merit; so should be on the invitation list.

“I think I would strongly recommend them to do exactly that,” said Hearn, speaking exclusively to Live Darts.

“I think the three [BDO] World Champions should be a shoo-in for the Grand Slam, so Glen [Durrant], Mikuru [Suzuki] and Leighton [Bennett].

“I think they add to the Grand Slam; they’re there on merit so I would be more than disappointed if they weren’t on the invitation list.”

Potential future restrictions being lifted

There has been some doubts with Bennett only being 13 years old; but he said that they’ve just got to make it a level playing field. He added also that in terms of future restrictions on Challenge Tour and Development Tour being lifted; that there is problems with child protection and that there is no rush for him to be involved just yet.

“I don’t think it needs to be ‘gotten round’,” he added. “I think we’ve just got to be aware that we’ve got to make sure it’s a level playing field for everyone.

“Obviously the young man is a great talent; but there are other great talents out there as well; so you have to be consistent.

“On things like the Grand Slam where you’ve earned the right; it’s an entirely different thing than say ‘should he be allowed to play in Challenge Tour and Development Tour matches?’

“That’s an issue we’ve got to resolve, but in today’s world you’ve got to be very careful on child protection and things like that.

“There is no rush for a great talent and Leighton seems to be a great talent, so my advice to him is just ‘keep your head down, keep knocking on the door and play the best you can and enjoy yourself’ because darts is a long career.

“You’ve got players in their fifties still competitive and that’s good for any youngster coming in because they can plan their career around darts, not just as a quick flash in the pan.

“It’s a consistent time where you can change your life.”

Evert Zomer

Photo: Evert Zomer

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Author: Samuel Gill