Today marks the first day of sporting events at the World Masters’ Games, and Kiwi netball stars have taken to the courts in memory of their friend, Tania Dalton.
The massive multi-sport event officially opened at Auckland’s Eden Park last night, with a ceremony attended only by the 25,000 competitors, sporting officials and New Zealand public figures.
The event runs over 10 days and includes athletes of all stripes – from every day competitors to former Olympians.
The Games', which officially kicked off this morning, has so far seen one very special netball team celebrate an early victory.
The team, made up of friends of the former Silver Fern Tania Dalton, who died last month after tragically suffering an aneurysm, played their first game of the tournament, and took out the win in top form.
The New Zealand Herald reports it had been a goal of Dalton’s to compete in the World Masters’ Games and that she had wanted to play in the tournament with a group of friends she played with in a College Riffles Old Girls team.
Team manager Lauren Arndt says Dalton and the group of ex-netballers, including ex-Silver Fern Anna Stanley and former Auckland player Kelly Rattray, had planned on hitting the games in a spirit of friendship – and fun.
The team had originally been called the Masters of the Universe, but following the death of Dalton, her team-mates renamed themselves the “TBags” – after a nickname their friend was known for.
“It just evolved into ‘let’s make this more of a tribute to her’.”
The team are committed to seeing Dalton’s legacy live on, and have been fundraising prior to the games for the Tania Dalton Foundation – a charity her husband Duane Dalton formed in honour of his wife’s sporting prowess.
Dalton told NZME the foundation aims to give “young women an opportunity to be the best people they can be through the vehicle of sport”.
The TBags want to continue their efforts for raise another $2000 and will be collecting on the sidelines for the charity at the Games this week.