Nicol carries her family values closely throughout her success

IT all started when Nicol was four and a half years old. Nicol followed her elder siblings, Lianne and Cheryl, to the squash centre where her elder sisters trained under coach Ee Phoeh Hoon.


As Nicol was a very hyperactive child, she would run all over the centre.


Desmond David and Ann Marie, the proud parents of Datuk Nicol David, recollected the time when Nicol first showed her interest in squash.


“We got hold of Nicol and she was placed in one corner of the centre by the coach (who later became Nicol’s first coach) while her sisters trained.


“Nicol got so excited to play squash. She would come home, go to the room and practise with a small racquet until there was a big black patch in the wall,” Ann Marie said today, during the online forum session held in celebration of Nicol’s achievement as the World Games Greatest Athlete Of All Time.


The online forum was organised by Penang Squash Association and powered by Next AGM.


Desmond said as parents, they wanted their children to enjoy the sports that the children were in as much as possible.


“We advised them not to put too much pressure on themselves. When they enjoy the sports, they will do well,” he said.


Ann Marie said her husband and herself were fortunate that their daughters enjoyed great fellowships and friends.


Nicol said she carried her family values closely until this day.


“I have learned so much from my family, the way they treat people around them. They are super grateful and have always respected others.


“It does not matter if you win or lose, it’s about being a good person. That is the most important.


“I carry that until this day because successes come and go, but people will recognise you if you are a good person.


“It all comes down to being brought up as a Penangite. Maybe it’s the Penang water, you know,” she laughed.


Nicol shared one of her toughest decisions during her journey as a squash legend.


“One of my biggest obstacles was making the decision to leave my family and my home to train overseas.


“That was my chance to really grow and to be a professional squash player. The learning experience has indeed made me grow,” she said.


Nicol, who took part in the online forum from Bogota in Columbia, said she was a very competitive person.


“My sisters were my benchmark growing up. I had a vision which was to beat my sisters.


“My main goal was to see how far I could go with the talent that I have. I tried to push myself to the max. I wasn’t thinking of how long I was going to be world number one.


“My motivation was not to feel comfortable and to always stay on my toes. If you are comfortable, people will come and take over.


“I will make sure everything counts when I’m out there. Work towards those goals and never take things for granted,” she said.


She said she would always be part of the squash development in some ways.


“I hope to empower girls and boys to build the values of sports via the Nicol David Organisation.


“Squash has given me so much. I know for a fact that we can create health awareness, a community that is together and build those values to be better people through the organisation that I am going to bring forward.


“We will give them a chance to experience the game that I love, and more so, to teach them the health habit,” Nicol said.


She thanked everyone who had voted for her to be awarded the World Games Greatest Athlete Of All Time by The World Games.


“It feels pretty amazing and surreal. The whole of Malaysia came together and voted for me when the voting system was happening.


“I am very grateful for all the support. If it wasn’t for their love and support, I wouldn’t have gotten the award. It was such an honour. Thank you so much,” she said.


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow congratulated Nicol on her achievements and asked about her wellbeing.


Chow greeting the participants of the online forum. With him is Soon (wearing a red face mask).


Chow also said that Malaysia was still fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic.


“As you know, we are not out of the woods yet. The condition is getting very serious. Perhaps, you can give some words of encouragement to Malaysians and Penangites in their fight against the pandemic,” Chow told Nicol.


Nicol said that she had been in Bogota for the last three years.


“I was training in Bogota during my last year before retirement. It’s a great place and I love it here, so I decided to make it my second base – so here and Malaysia.


“I’m now doing work from Bogota due to the pandemic as it is quite difficult to go back to Malaysia.


“I do online motivational talks and get my Foundation together, which will be called the Nicol David Organisation.


“My team is here with me and we are working together. We are in the midst of finalising the registration before I return to Malaysia next month,” she said.


Nicol said she understood that it had been hard for Malaysians these last few months.


“I know that it has been difficult, but I believe that everybody is doing the best to go through this period.


“This has brought the whole country together to be more compassionate towards one another.


“Look out for your neighbours or people who need help. For those who need help, do ask for help.


“If you can, give help,” she said.


She told Malaysians to stay positive and stay safe.


Also present were state executive council members Chong Eng and Soon Lip Chee, Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) president Gerard Monteiro, Squash Racquets Association of Penang (SRAP) president Datuk Lim Tiong Chin and SRAP honorary secretary Daniel Loh. The online forum was moderated by SRAP deputy president Linda Geh.



Story by Christopher Tan

Pix by Muhamad Amir Irsyad Omar