Saturday, March 2, 2024

WISPA: Nicol to meet Malaysian PM

Nicol David is mobbed at KL Airport

Nicol David has been granted an audience with the Malaysian Prime Minister on Monday following her record sixth World Open sucess in Rotterdam. And the woman who has dominated women’s squash for so many years admits that she still has plenty of goals to reach to further decorate an already outstanding career.

A large crowd welcomed her home to KL International Airport earlier this week

From the Star online:

PM to honour squash queen Nicol for historic achievements


KUALA LUMPUR: Nicol David, the world’s greatest woman squash player, is to be feted by the Prime Minister for her outstanding achievements.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will meet Nicol at his office in Putrajaya on Monday to congratulate the Penangite for creating history by winning a record sixth world title in Rotterdam on Nov 6.

Nicol is the first woman player to achieve the feat since the inauguration of the World Open in 1976. She won her earlier titles in Hong Kong (2005), Belfast (2006), Manchester (2008), Amsterdam (2009) and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last year.

The trophy that Nicol won in Rotterdam, after beating world No. 2 Jenny Duncalf of England in straight games in the final, will be flown in from London today.

Our heroine is back: Nicol David receives a warm welcome at the Kuala
Lumpur International Airport in Sepang after arriving from Amsterdam .
Picture bySHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

Nicol, 28, was also inducted into the squash Hall of Fame in Rotterdam for her achievements. She has won a total of 56 Women’s International Squash Players Association (Wispa) titles since turning pro in 2000 and looks set to add many more to her collection.

Still very much on top of her game, Nicol ended the season by bagging her seven consecutive Hong Kong Open title last month.

Nicol received a warm welcome at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on arriving from Amsterdam yesterday.

A total of 130 junior players were there to greet her together with Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) president Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali and officials.

Nicol said she was overwhelmed by the reception.

“I never thought so many junior players would be there to greet me. It feels really good,” she said.

“It’s great to be back to spend Christmas with my family after a successful year. Winning the world title for a record sixth time was the high point of my season and I want to enjoy it with the family,” said Nicol.

“I will take a break for 10 days before I start training again. Former world number one Vicki (Cardwell of Australia) will be in Penang in the middle of the month for two weeks to spar with me.

“It will be a good preparation for my first ever World Series Finals in London from Jan 4-8,” said Nicol.

The Finals will feature the top eight players, including Malaysian number two Low Wee Wern.

Nicol said her drive to stay as the world No. 1 gets tougher every year because the other players were improving fast.

“I have to train much harder to stay a step ahead and do well in tournaments,” said Nicol.

“I have the advantage of being able to train with whoever I want. My goal is to stay on top for as long as possible.

“I will be playing a number of tournaments next year but the big ones will be the World Open, British Open, US Open and Australian Open,” said Nicol.

For now though, the world’s premier woman squash player is looking forward to her meeting with the premier of the nation.

The New Straits Times also published an interesting article, highlighting Nicol’s hunger for more success:

A MONTH on from winning a record sixth World Open title, Nicol David still quite cannot believe she has become the all-time great of women’s squash.

The 28-year-old’s accomplishments outstrip all those before her and the delight was evident when Nicol returned home for the first time since her historic triumph in Rotterdam on Nov 6.

“It’s been a great year and it’s good to be back,” said Nicol on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport where she was greeted by three busloads of banner-waving junior squash players.

“Winning in Hong Kong (on Nov 20) was the perfect way to end the year. The last 10 years haves gone by so fast and I just want to savour the moment after winning my sixth world title.

“It still has not sunk in yet and I want to really take it all in before the moment passes because I’ve not had time to settle down.

“So I’m going to take a short break, return to Penang for a while and enjoy my time here before getting back to training.”

As Nicol celebrates a year in which she won seven Wispa Tour titles, an eighth Asian Championship crown, her second national championship and was inducted into the World Squash Hall of Fame, adding to her legacy is not far from her thoughts.

Next month, Nicol will bid to win the World Series Finals title for the first time besides pledging to redouble her efforts in getting squash into the Olympic Games.

Former World No 1 Vicky Cardwell will arrive in Penang next week to spar with Nicol as part of her preparation for the elite eight-woman tournament in London on Jan 4-8, which returns after a gap of eight years.

It is the only major squash title missing from Nicol’s resume and she gets her first chance to address that issue in the new year.

“There are a lot of things to build up to next year and I start with the World Series Finals.

“It’s not been held for a while (since 2004) and I’ll be returning to training soon to prepare for it after a little rest.

“It’s an important event for women’s squash as the top eight women will join  the top eight men at the World Series Finals,” said Nicol, who has 57 Wispa titles to her credit.

Nicol, who has said she would gladly trade all her world titles for an Olympic gold medal, reiterated her desire to see the sport in the Games.

“Everyone understands how important the world title is to me though I would trade it all for an Olympic gold medal.

“Even if I can’t play in it, I want to be part of the team that get squash into the Olympics,” said Nicol of her efforts in trying to ensure squash becomes an Olympic sport in 2020.”

Read more: SQUASH: Nicol: ‘There is still much to do’ – Other – New Straits Times


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