Nicol David is presently one of Malaysia’s hottest sports properties.
Perhaps, she is hotter than the hottest real estate property around the nationhood. While most Malaysians will have to take a really good look before becoming a professional sports person, Nicol shows them how she did it, and why they should do it too.
Nicol was born Nicol Ann David on 26 August 1983 in Penang. She is a daughter to Desmond David, an engineer and Ann Marie David, a teacher. Her first encounter with squash began at a tender age of 5, and at the age of 8 she started to take squash seriously with regular training and involved in competitive games. She received her primary education at SM Convent, Penang.
Her first international win was at Hong Kong Under-13 category. Soon, Nicol began climbing her way up conquering the challenges in the Asian level and world championship.
Nicol began dominating the squash scene by winning the Asian championship as well as becoming the youngest player to become the world’s woman junior champion. She was merely 15 years old and in the process of becoming the junior champion, she beat 3 players who were ranked in the world’s top 20. She won the junior championship twice and became the only 2 players in the history of squash to have achieved the feat.
By the time she reached 16 where most people at that age was honeymooning before sitting down for SPM a year later, she was already making the world’s top 10 list and on her up. Nicol has an invincible track record in Asia after winning the Asian championship 5 times in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006.
In December 2005, Nicol became the youngest world champion after beating Rachel Grinham in the final of Hong Kong Open.
In January 2006, at the age of only 23 years old, Nicol reached a new height when she took over the helm as the world’s number one woman squash player. Nicol is not only the first Malaysian to take over the crown but is also the first Asian woman to be ranked number one.
However, the number one rank was short lived to only 3 months before she dropped to number two after her failure at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Many Malaysian presses predicted further down fall of her and the failure even evoked the wrath of the Sports Ministry. Nicol bounced back with a bang by winning a record 51 consecutive matches and was unbeaten for 13 months before she lost to Natalie Grinham in the Seoul Open final game.
Nicol gained back the world number one status and is still holding it for more than a year now. The Grinham sisters, Rachel and Natalie are currently Nicol’s main nemesis.
Her success in squash did not prevent Nicol to record impressive and outstanding academic achievement. She scored 8As in the PMR (Penilaian Menengah Rendah) and 9As in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). Before the exams, she would be seen juggling her time preparing for the exams as well as practicing and perfecting her skills in court.
On December 2007 (2 weeks ago), Nicol was announced as the winner of the inaugural Asian Sportswoman of the Year winner, beating other competitors who are among 100 athletes and sports persons nominated.
Now a professional squash player, Nicol David is a definite role model for Malaysian and other youngsters around the globe. She trains under a former world number 2, Liz Irving in Amsterdam, Holland. Her desire to succeed has taken her to a territory where other Malaysians consider impossibility. She is also a living legend who proves that you can be exceptional in both sports and education fields. Malaysia Boleh!
Picture courtesy of SquashPlayer.co.uk