De Graaf and Zijlstra refuse to play with transgender player and drop out of Dutch women's team

Aileen de Graaf and Anca Zijlstra dropped quite a bombshell on Saturday on the Dutch women's darts team by both dropping out of the selection. Both players no longer want to team up with Noa-Lynn van Leuven.

The latter has long been a topic of conversation in the dart world. Van Leuven was born a man and currently plays on the women's circuit as a trans woman. This encounters a lot of resistance from some top players, who feel there is no longer a level playing field.

Zijlstra announced her departure from the Dutch team Saturday afternoon after losing to Van Leuven at the Women's Series. ''With pain in my heart...,'' the player from Heerlen began her statement.

''The moment when you feel ashamed to play for the Dutch Team, because a biological man plays on the women's team, it's time to go. I have tried to accept this but I cannot condone or accept it. I think in sports there should be an equal and fair playing field, handled and accepted as such in good conscience. After all, we have worked so hard to be relevant and competitive in this sport. I also resign as player representative of the NDB. To clarify: The umbrella organizations themselves can decide whether they allow a transwoman to play with the men or a transman to play with the women. I have always found it an honour to play for our country, and will always be open to returning to the national team. I hope with all my heart and for all women's sports that people come to their senses. This decision has not been light and very difficult, 1991 has been the first time I proudly put on the shirt for the Netherlands,'' Zijlstra writes.

Commenting on this post, De Graaf also announced his retirement from the team. ''Proud of you dear, even though this decision was very difficult for you. At some point you have to make choices when something goes against your feelings. You have to do what feels right for you. Hence my decision to leave the Dutch team. If someone doesn't feel comfortable in the body he or she was born in, I wish everyone to change this and be happy. I just don't think it's right that a biological man throws in with the women or vice versa, it's either mixed or not. This is my opinion and many others will think differently about this but everyone is allowed to have an opinion or be open about this,'' De Graaf responded.

The Dutch women's squad for the 4 Nations Tournament now consists of Van Leuven, Desiree Geel, Roos van der Velde and Aletta Wajer. They will compete with ladies from Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg on April 13 and 14.

De Graaf and Zijlstra refuse to play with transgender player and drop out of Dutch women's team
De Graaf and Zijlstra refuse to play with transgender player and drop out of Dutch women's team

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