Irene Van Dyk turns 40
Thu, 21 Jun 2012 6:49p.m.
By Ashlee Tulloch
Silver Fern shooter Irene Van Dyk is the most capped netball player in history, and today the South African-born kiwi celebrated the special milestone of turning 40.
Fit, fabulous and 40,Van Dyk says she doesn't feel her age.
“No definitely not, I’m like, is something wrong with my genes or something? Or I must have missed a few years a long the line.”
Who would have thought in 1995 the South African star who shot the Silver Ferns out of the Birmingham World Champs would soon become one of New Zealand’s favourite adopted daughters?
“For us to actually beat them by two goals was wow,” she says of the 1995 game.
“We honestly celebrated like we had won the world champs.”
Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic coach Noeline Taurua still remembers the game.
“You see this blonde-haired, blue-eyed, red-lipped sort of person come out of the woodwork with her head band on.”
Former Silver Ferns captain Bernice Mene knows Van Dyk well.
“People often ask me on the street is she as lovely as she is on TV and the answer’s yes.”
Life in New Zealand was a culture shock for Van Dyk when she moved here - no car jackings, no bars on windows.
“The first night mum and I spent in New Zealand was the most terrifying night of our entire lives because the house that we lived in didn’t have any keys so we couldn't lock the doors.”
She shares a special relationship with coach Taurua, having played both with and against her.
“I'm quite honoured actually to probably grow along side her as a player and also in my coaching career,” Taurua says.
With new talent coming through and Van Dyk not getting any younger, retirement is a topic she's asked about frequently.
“The way I feel now I can go for another 20 years but you know, netball injuries happen just like that. I count my blessings everyday.”
If Van Dyk has her way, she'll be shooting hoops for her country for years to come.
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