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New Zealand end Commonwealth Games with 36 Medals, on a high following Netball win

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New Zealand's Delhi campaign came to an epic close today as New Zealand's Silver Ferns claimed gold against Australia in the final event of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. An ecstatic Irene van Dyk surrounded by her team mates accepted accolades from the dozens of Kiwi athletes who turned out to spur the Silver Ferns to victory.

Gold medalists Valerie Adams and Joelle King, together with teammates from cycling, weightlifting, swimming, gymnastics and more had rallied behind the Silver Ferns. The attitude of athletes and the team has been the stand-out feature of the Delhi Commonwealth Games for Chef de Mission Dave Currie.

"It's been the best I've ever seen," said Currie who is at his third Commonwealth Games. "Our athletes have come together to deliver outstanding performances and once finished, they're back out at venues supporting the rest of the team.

"I've seen some courageous performances," said Currie. "Nikki Hamblin came to Delhi not expecting a medal - through sheer grit and determination she came away with two silver medals. Joelle King's back-to-back performances for a gold and silver squash were stunning. A fourth consecutive gold medal for the Rugby 7s team was also a stand-out as was the teamwork and mettle behind both the men's and women's road race teams.

"The grueling match we've just seen was just incredible.

"Crucially, the atmosphere within the village has also been just fantastic. The grandstand set-up in "Base Camp" at the village has been consistently full and at each venue Kiwi athletes are supporting their teammates still in competition." Currie puts this atmosphere down to the indomitable New Zealand spirit. "We arrived into an environment that was less than ideal. The operations team gave it their all in getting the accommodation in order and throughout the games athletes were largely protected from the issues we faced."

"The athletes themselves knew the situation in Delhi was tough and arrived with a real can-do attitude. They've been simply outstanding."

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the motivation and inspiration behind the team in Delhi and Currie believes the link with these two great men was particularly apt.

With a total of 36 medals including six gold, the overall performance result stacks up positively against previous Commonwealth Games, particularly in the funded high performance sports.

Cycling and athletics had performances notable for the gains made since the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 each increasing their overall medal count by a significant margin. New Zealand Olympic Committee President Mike Stanley acknowledges the team for their efforts.

"The athletes have made all of New Zealand proud and I thank them for that," he said. "I also credit Dave Currie and his support team for creating a high performance environment in extremely adverse conditions."

Stanley also notes the input of the New Zealand government. "We would like to acknowledge support and advice we received from the New Zealand government both before and during the Delhi games," said Stanley. "It played a significant role in enabling us to deliver a rewarding games to our athletes."

In acknowledgment this support the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team gifted one of the three Pou-Aro, or pillars, that stand proudly at the entrance of the New Zealand residence, to the New Zealand High Commission in India.

"The gift will also leave an enduring link between our team and the people of India," said Currie. "The young people of this exciting country were enthusiastic and eager to help and we thank them for that." The games formally conclude tonight with the closing ceremony.

The team was led into the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium by flag-bearer Joelle King. King was selected for the honour after her gold/silver medal winning performance yesterday.