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Beau Greaves: 'People think women can't play darts. But we can'

Beau Greaves Image copyright Getty Images

You wouldn't think a game of professional darts is how you'd normally celebrate a 16th birthday.

But if you're Beau Greaves, you've just played - and won - the quarter-final of the women's BDO World Darts Championship.

"I've had messages from people telling me I'm an inspiration to young girls who want to start playing darts, which is a massive confidence booster for me," she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

Darts might be seen primarily as a men's game, but Beau thinks younger women can be inspired to throw at a dart board.

"Growing up I saw Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor. Ladies darts didn't get as much coverage as men's back then. So it's about getting more opportunities to get on the big screen.

"People think women can't play darts, but we can. We just don't see it as much on TV."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Beau beat Aileen de Graaf to reach the semi-final

Beau says she got into darts mainly because of her brother.

"We used to have a room in our house where the dartboard would be and I'd just score from my brother - it took off from there really.

"Then I just started throwing and won my first competition, playing county level for Yorkshire."

But if you think it was success from the beginning for Beau, think again.

"I actually lost my first proper game of darts. But then I won my first competition, called Bradford Darts. We used to go to that every few weeks."

She says hard work is the key - and has four practice sessions a day.

"I have a conservatory in my house where I practise. It's got my trophies in there to give it that sort of environment."

'You need balance'

But along with darts, Beau also has other things going on - like doing her GCSEs.

"It's hard. I do want to be a darts player but you have to balance it out.

"I've got exams coming up this year so I'll get them done. And, we'll see where darts takes me."

She adds that it's important to prepare for a back-up career.

"I don't know what's going to happen after this. But I know schooling is important so I'll make sure to have a plan if darts doesn't go the way I want it to."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Beau says young players have to work hard continuously and not jump the gun to reach the top

Beau says even though her school friends watch her on TV, they aren't that interested by darts. But she has the sport to thank for her best friend, fellow player Shannon Reeves.

"We've played together in teams when we were young, and we've been best friends since."

'Stronger and resilient'

She says perception remains a problem in the sport and cites the "horrible" abuse she's received in the past.

"My family see it before I do. I'm just not interested anymore.

"It's the dark part of being in the public eye, so you've got to deal with it. It does make you stronger and more resilient."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Beau is inspired by Fallon, who made history by becoming the first ladies player to beat a man in the PDC championships

She wants to emulate Fallon Sherrock's success and change perceptions.

"I've spoken to her a few times, played with her and she's really nice. She's done so well and she deserves it."

'Believe in yourself'

Nerves are normal for Beau, but she gets through it by "not really thinking about it" and doesn't mind playing older, more experienced players.

"Confidence is one of the main things in darts, so if you've got confidence and believe you're going to win, it helps. There's so much talent in darts but you have to believe in yourself to get through."

She says the pub culture around the sport means people sometimes have a drink to deal with the nerves.

"But I've never had a drink when playing. I think once you start drinking in darts, it just gets you into bad habits. Obviously it's a nervous sport so people might need a drink. But water does it for me!"

Beau plays Japan's Mikuru Suzuki on Friday night and is embracing the challenge.

"The crowd loves her, so I'll have to prepare myself for that one. But I'm looking forward to it and I do enjoy the big crowd."

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