KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 (Bernama) -- The exploits of national squash queen Datuk Nicol Ann David will be sorely missed on the international stage following the eight-time world champion’s decision to retire in June.
“Nevertheless, her legacy will live on,” said Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, pointing to the numerous titles she had won, including the gold medals at the World Championships (three), Asian Games (five) and Commonwealth Games (two), during an incredible career spanning over more than two decades and which have defined her as a truly special athlete.
He described the 35-year-old Penangite’s retirement as a big loss not only to the national squash arena but one that would also be felt on the international stage.
“It’s a huge loss because she is an extraordinary athlete. I view her victories and achievements over the years as a phenomenon,” he told Bernama.
Apart from her extraordinary on-court achievement, which showed her determination to bring glory to Malaysia, Norza also praised Nicol for her exemplary character as well as her academic excellence.
“She is a complete athlete because not only does she excel in bringing glory to the country, she also has good character. Her academic and career achievements ought to be emulated, and she deserves to be an idol,” he added.
After more than two decades of action, Nicol, who once held the world number one ranking for nine consecutive years, has decided to hang up her racquets when the 2018/2019 Professional Squash Association (PSA) season ends in June.
National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi shared Norza’s sentiments, adding that while he was sad with her decision, he also respected it and was looking forward to strengthening their existing cooperation with Nicol.
“We at NSC are very proud of Nicol and thank her on her achievements. Frankly, everyone in the NSC is sad, but at the same time we are excited to collaborate with her on the development of sports, especially squash, in the country.
“Nicol is a big name...we must not let it go to waste,” he said.
Nicol’s announcement also drew a similar reaction from Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who admitted that Nicol was his idol when he was growing up.
“I grew up idolising you. I am very sure that will not change any time soon. Looking forward to your ‘retirement plan’. Keep on inspiring!,” he wrote in his Twitter post.
Nine-time National Sportswoman of the Year Nicol will compete in her last World Championships in Chicago, the United States, from Feb 23-March 2.