Sunday, October 1, 2023

‘Dream come true’ for reigning World champion Nicol

Rekindling old memories: Delight for David as World Championship returns to Malaysia for the first time in a decade
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter

World number one Nicol David will finally a realise a near 10-year ‘dream’ when she competes at the delayed 2013 Women’s World Championship on home soil in March.

David, who has won the World title seven times, suffered the heartache of losing in the Women’s World Championship semi-final to Australian Natalie Grinham in 2004 – the last time Malaysia hosted the prestigious event.

But after lobbying hard for the tournament to return to her home nation for the first time in nearly a decade, David can barely contain her excitement at being able to defend her trophy at the Pisa Stadium in her home town of Penang.

“It’s a dream come true just being able to compete in the World meet in my own backyard”, David told The Star. “When the tournament did not take place last year, it was quite a blow to all of us players. 

“And now, just to have the tournament on the calendar, even though it is delayed, is really great because the World meet is the pinnacle of women’s squash.

“Having grown up on the island for most of my life, this really means a lot to me and it’s really great knowing that your friends and family will be right there supporting you.

“For that, I can’t thank Penang Chief Minister [Lim] Guan Eng and event coordinator Thomas [Chan] enough for making this happen. Without the state and the government’s support, I would not have achieved what I have so far.”

The 2013 edition of the Women’s World Championship was initially cancelled when WSA discussions with representatives from Egypt and Hong Kong broke down.

But following the intervention of the Penang State Government, the showpiece event will now take place from March 14-21. 

The latest publicity for Malaysian squash follows an encouraging start to the year for their junior team, after Sivasangari Subramaniam and Aifa Azman won the Under 15 and Under 13 categories respectively at the British Junior Open in Sheffield.

And with the world’s best players set to descend on Penang in two months time, David (pictured right) is hopeful the event can help to inspire the future generation.

“To have the World meet in Penang is also excellent for exposing people to squash, especially since our juniors have been doing so well, with the two wins at the British Juniors.

“Now, we can reach out to more people, let the juniors have a better feel of what it is like to compete at the highest stage and hopefully inspire some of them too,” added David.

The 30-year-old will be looking to extend her 27-match winning streak at the Tournament of Champions next week, where she will also be bidding for a sixth successive WSA title.

The Malaysia number one is seeded first for the $50,000 event and faces a qualifier in the first round at the Grand Central Station in New York.

Source: The Star; Pictures by Michael Catling

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