If squash is a kingdom, then Nicol David would be the emperor for it.
I believe I speak on behalf of all Malaysians when I make this statement, because Nicol David has certainly changed the face of squash.
The Penang-born athlete has been heralded by some as the greatest female squash player in history, and why not? As of July 2015, Nicol David has been the women’s no.1 player for a record 108 consecutive months!
And that is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends.
Therefore, in conjunction with her birthday – 26 August – we take a look at some lesser-known facts on Nicol David!
1. Early days
Nicol first picked up the racquet at age 5, in her hometown George Town, Penang. She continued taking regular lessons when she was 8, training thrice a week.
Her parents were a major influence in her life, as they allowed her two older sisters and herself to take up squash and other sports in school to get a feel of what suited them better.
As athletic as she was, David though has always dreamed of becoming an engineer, following her father’s footsteps. Mathematics was her best subject before eventually finding her true calling in sports.
2. First World title
David’s biggest win during her early years was at Antwerp’s World Junior Championships, where the 15-year-old Malaysian school girl claimed her ‘World Junior Champion’ status. At the same time, she also scored straight A’s for her Pernilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examinations.
I don’t even remember what I was doing when I was 15!
Nicol David’s list of accomplishments knows no boundaries. For instance, she has won the Malaysian Open title so many times, that it’s slightly funny when you compare it to the men’s category!
She has 8 World Open titles around her belt, winning every single year she has participated in. Nicol is also the first Asian Woman to be on top of the world squash rankings!
When Nicol first joined the national team, the average training session required females to run 19 laps, with males being required to do 24 laps.
Nicol, on the other hand, would run up to 25 laps, every single time.
Squash scout Ee Phoeh Hoon once told Malaysian Insider: “Even at that tender age, her strong point was her mental strength and ability to focus on the task at hand. When we do court runs, girls usually do 19-20 laps, and exceptionally strong boys can do 24. Nicol was the only girl who could manage 25.”
That even earned her the nickname “Energizer Bunny”, based on a battery advertisement, for her extraordinary speed and agility.
5. Post-retirement plan
While most people wish to spend their time relaxing at home after retirement, Nicol has expressed her desire to set up a squash academy. The squash academy will certainly be in line with her belief that the quality of Malaysian sports will only be elevated if it is encouraged in schools.
On the other hand, the engineer inside Nicol has also been toying with the idea of starting her own designing firm. Why, you ask? Because she’s got style!
On behalf of FourthOfficial.com, I’d like to wish Datuk Nicol David a very happy birthday!