Tuesday 17 November 2009 7:00 pm


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FIRST there was Bobby George; the Bobby Dazzler, the King of the Bling, the first true bastion of darting glitz and glamour.

Then, there was Andy Fordham. Thirty-one stone at his peak, hair down to his backside and regular consumer of 25 bottles of Holsten Pils before going on stage. Equally adored by his public.

Now, the time has come for a new young protagonist to burst onto the scene – a darting icon with a difference.

Let me introduce Anastasia Dobromyslova. Sexy, sassy, stylish and sent to us from Russia, with love, to turn the world of darts upside down.

And boy is she doing just that.

Plucked from her local youth club in the town of Tver at the age of 11, Anastasia has led a one-woman Russian crusade on world darts and shot into the limelight in January 2008 when she ended Trina Gulliver’s six-year winning reign to win the BDO Women’s World Championship.

With her marketable value clearly in mind, she then became the first female player to break ranks and join rival organisation, the Professional Darts Corporation, where her profile suddenly rose to new heights as she flew the flag for Girl Power against the top male players in the world.

As a result, the 25-year-old is now at the centre of several sponsorship campaigns and estimates she makes more money on modelling and glamour shoots than she would by winning four successive women’s world championships.

All she needed now, however, was a high-profile win on the oche and Anastasia finally got her wish at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Sunday night when, in front of a capacity crowd, she scored the biggest victory of her career to announce herself on the world stage. The 25-year-old’s thrilling 5-4 victory over world No18 Vincent van der Voort in the Grand Slam of Darts was the highest-profile victory by a woman and the first in a televised contest.

Unfortunately, defeats to world No1 Phil “The Power” Taylor and a 5-2 reverse to Welsh No1 Mark Webster last night, ended her interest in the competition, but couldn’t close up the avenues of opportunity now open to the queen of the oche.

“I’m on top of the world at the moment,” Anastasia told City.A.M. “It’s been a fantastic couple of years for me, now I’m hoping to really make my mark. I remember losing 6-5 to Robert Thornton in the UK Open earlier this year and that was a big turning point for me. That was the day I got the bug. Being the only woman player is a bit lonely to be honest, so it will be great to see more women playing and coming through. I know of some girls coming through so I think that will happen in the next few years.

“The modelling is very flattering, I always like to try and look good, but I won’t let it get in the way of my focus playing darts. Commercially, things have never been better but the darts will always be my first priority.”

With her famous Grand Slam victory behind her, Anastasia now flies back to her homeland Russia to take part in the inaugural Russian Masters with the aim of qualifying for the PDC World Championships at Alexandra Palace and avenging last year’s first round defeat to Dutchman Remco van Eijden. “I feel I’m a different player to what I was last year,” she added. “I feel more comfortable in these surroundings and more confident in myself.

“I know I can beat the guys, it’s just about focusing on my game and doing the best I can.”

• Anastasia Dobromsylova was speaking as Ambassador for UK pool and snooker operator, Rileys, who are opening Darts Zones at 128 clubs nationwide.