Irene van Dyk

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Irene van Dyk : biography

21 June 1972 –

2006 Commonwealth Games

New Zealand faced Australia, the defending champions, in the finals of 2006 Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne. In that Final, Van Dyk once again performed with skill and determination in what was an enthralling battle against Australian Goal Keeper and home town girl Bianca Chatfield who gave a sterling, if ultimately unsuccessful performance, against the World’s most recognisable netball player. (Liz Ellis wasn’t available due to injury.) New Zealand went on to win the final 60–55, avenging their defeat in the 2002 Commonwealth Games final and claim a famous victory over the rivals. Van Dyk played an important role with her 90% plus shooting percentage steering New Zealand home. When she moved back from South Africa she had a daughter named Bianca, she was born in 1997 and has followed her mother in netball.

Subsequent milestones

On September the 23rd 2009, Irene played in her 100th test for New Zealand, a 52-36 win over Australia although New Zealand lost the series 3-2 overall. In 2010, van Dyk was chosen to lead the New Zealand team in the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The 2010 Games also saw Irene van Dyk become the most capped player in Silver Ferns history, surpassing the previous number of 110 attained by Lesley Rumball. In June 2012 Irene celebrated her 40th birthday on National TV and announced she has no plans to retire.

Netball technique

A 2003 biography about her is called Changing Colours by Russell Gray. She shoots 300 goals a day just for fun. Her husband Christie analyses her play.

As a player Irene van Dyk is renowned for her peerless and consistent shooting volume and accuracy boasting shooting percentages that have rarely been seen in netball before. Her commanding height (said to be 190 cm but suspected to be a few cm taller) combines well with her natural athleticism and strong hands enabling her to dominate her opponents.

Perhaps the most striking weapon in her arsenal is the extremely wide split of her legs on receiving the ball. She uses this in order to manoeuvre herself closer to the goalpost thus increasing her chances of making the shot or rebounding upon a missed shot.

South African career

She made her debut for the South African national side in 1994 and went on to captain the side and represent them a total of 72 times. She was part of the silver medal winning South African team who beat New Zealand preliminary rounds of the 1995 Netball World Championships and went on to lose to Australia in the final.