'I've been playing longer than some of the adults have' - 13-year-old darts champion Sophie McKinlay

Sophie McKinlay won the senior Scottish Ladies singles title in Glenrothes in January
Sophie McKinlay won the senior Scottish Ladies singles title in Glenrothes in January

Rising darts star Sophie McKinlay goes into this weekend's Scottish Open brimming with confidence, despite her tender age of 13.

Last month, she became the youngest winner of the senior Scottish Ladies singles title.

Now in her third year at the Scottish Open, she will compete in the singles, doubles and mixed triples in Renfrew.

"It's easier to compete against adults, I need to play my best to beat them," McKinlay told BBC Scotland.

"They think I'm just a young person starting out, when actually I've been playing darts and competing in tournaments for the past five years - longer than some of the adults have.

"I play against men nearly every week, since the leagues are mostly men. I'd like to play Peter Wright one day because he's the new world champion."

Coached by her mother, Mhairi, McKinlay, from Stirling, first took up the sport at the age of six.

"My mum has been playing for 30-plus years, but I think I'm probably the better player," she laughed.

"There are a lot of girls and ladies who are taking up darts and some are getting better than the men so the scene is definitely changing."

Fallon Sherrock, who won her maiden title at 15, made headlines when she became the first woman to beat a man at the PDC World Championships in December.

Sherrock, now 25, won the Scottish Open in 2017 and has been runner-up on four occasions.

"She has made darts more popular for women and shown that it's not just a sport for men," said McKinlay of Sherrock, who will compete as a a"challenger" in this year's Premier League Darts.

"She has made people recognise that women can compete against the men and be better than them and get the win."

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