Film theme will focus on her long partnership with coach Liz Irving
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
Squash legend Nicol David is making a movie about her life, called I Am Nicol David.
Malaysia’s eight-times world champion is planning a biopic that traces her path from humble origins to become the most successful female player of the modern era.
She says: “This is really a dream come true for me.” As well as highlighting her huge list of achievements, the story will focus on her long-term partnership with former coach Liz Irving.
David, now 38, began playing squash at the age of five in Penang. In 1999 the 15-year-old David became the youngest woman to win a World Junior Championship.
She turned professional in 2000 and within three years she moved home from Penang to join Irving in Amsterdam.
Her breakthrough year came in 2005, when she won seven titles including her first World and British Open triumphs.
She built an aura of invincibility in the women’s game that propelled her to eight world titles, 10 triumphs at the Hong Kong Open, five British Open wins, and gold medals for the women’s singles at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and Glasgow in 2010 and 2014.
She also enjoyed eight wins on home soil in the Malaysian Open, and another eight in the Kuala Lumpur Open.
David enjoyed 108 months as world number one and achieved a total of 81 professional tournament wins.
The showcourt at the Bukit Jalil squash centre was renamed the Nicol David Arena in recognition of her successes and she was also a Malaysian government ambassador for youth sport.
David has been featured in the Women Of Power 2022 series launched by Prestige Malaysia, a publication that describes itself as “the lifestyle magazine of choice for the affluent and influential in Malaysia”.
As a great champion, Nicol was renowned for her commitment, sportsmanship and honesty. Not surprisingly, she has become a role model for female empowerment in Malaysia and has founded the Nicol David Organisation, designed to encourage and empower children through sport.
In an interview with Prestige magazine, she added: “It shows how two women can make big things happen. It will be a journey of what we went through, all our struggles and everything that goes into being the best athlete that I could also be while also representing Malaysia.
“I hope that Malaysians, especially, when they see the movie, will feel inspired.”
As well as the film project she is busy developing The Nicol David Organisation alongside co-founder and CEO Mariana De Reyes.
She continued: “The objective is to reach out to families to bring their children to squash training and to English tutoring classes.
“It’s an after-school programme that gives them access to education and sports, all in one place.”
Squash is clearly a major part of Nicol David’s life and she plans to hold classes and workshops for women to build a community through the sport.
The idea first came to her when she held classes with her sponsor, AIA, on International Women’s Day when 20 newcomers turned up, most of whom had not played before.
The message is, she adds: “Keep going, keep moving forward. Don’t look back. You just have to work hard for what you truly want and not let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Her life motto, she says, is: “Stay true to yourself. Don’t change yourself for any reason.”
Another passion project for Nicol is to help promote her home region of Penang. After the appointment by the Penang state government, she added: “I’m super thrilled and honoured to be the Penang Tourism Ambassador.”
Video campaigns feature heritage and culture sites, nature and adventure, plus food and lifestyle.
Nicol remains as photogenic as ever and recently featured on the cover of Tatler Asia.