Aurora Games kickoff at the Empire State Plaza

August 19, 2019 11:18 PM

ALBANY – Over the next week, the Times Union Center in Albany will be hosting the inaugural Aurora Games. It brings together top female athletes competing in seven different sports.

A kickoff event for the competition was held at the Empire State Plaza Monday evening.

“I think any sporting event, especially a feature on women, helps you feel happy because they're doing something very positive and very healthy for themselves,” said Nannette Dusseault of Delmar.

The event was emceed by WNYT’s Ashley Miller. It started with many of the athletes that will participate in the games being brought out on stage. There were will be Team World and Team Americas. Events include tennis, gymnastics, basketball, ice hockey, figure skating and beach volleyball. Many athletes said they’re excited to have an event celebrating women.

“We work so hard, you know, exact same as men,” said Rebecca Cole, a basketball player from Australia.  “We're training as much as them, we’re putting hours in the gym, training after our bodies, training after our mental state as well.”

In the crowd Monday evening was a lot of young athletes. One young girl even found out she was going to meet her idol, Nadia Comaneci.

“We’re actually attending the beach volleyball on Sunday, she's a new volleyball player so we're pretty excited,” said Paula Maciag pointing to her daughter Magdalene. “She's a former gymnast. Honestly this was supposed to be a surprise, but we might as well tell everybody out in capital land that's she's going to get to meet her idol tonight Nadia Comaneci, so we're really excited, I'm excited for her.”

College athletes from Siena also showing their support and hoping the event brings more light to women sporting events.

“I know playing sports has given us amazing opportunities in our lives, a lot of confidence and I think it's just great to highlight this even inspire girls, bring the community together,” said Siena soccer player Hanna Longendyke.

After the athletes were presented, American Idol Star Madison VanDenburg sang for the crowd. Magdalene Maciag said she’s excited for the week ahead.

“It just makes you think that you can do anything and that like you can really achieve your dreams,” said Maciag.

Tuesday night there will be opening ceremonies followed by the first event, tennis.

For a schedule of events and more on how to get tickets, click here.


Emily De Vito

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