Sport

Published: Thursday February 6, 2014 MYT 7:29:00 PM
Updated: Thursday February 6, 2014 MYT 10:00:18 PM

Nicol still hard to beat at age 30

Nicol David posing for photos after winning the Cleveland Classic title on Feb 4, 2014.

Nicol David posing for photos after winning the Cleveland Classic title on Feb 4, 2014.

PETALING JAYA: There seems to be no stopping world No. 1 Nicol David.

Despite being already 30 years old, Nicol showed that she is in excellent form and good physical condition en route to mowing down her opponents – young and experienced ones alike – to bag the Cleveland Classic title.

It was her seventh straight Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Tour title, and her 73rd overall, from 92 finals.

That is an incredible feat – and it just goes to prove that Nicol is not about to slow down any time soon.

One of the key attributes for Nicol’s amazing success is how well she takes care of her physical condition and that she follows a proper training and recovery programme designed by the National Sports Institute (NSI) team.

If she keeps this up, there is no reason why Nicol cannot add to her already impressive array of seven world titles when the Women’s World Championship is held in her hometown of Penang from March 15-23.

With this being a big year for squash – the Asian Games (Sept 19-Oct 4), Commonwealth Games (July 21-Aug 4) and Women’s World Team Championship (Dec 2-6) – Nicol’s continued dominance is good news indeed.

But it is Nicol’s strong belief in sports science that should be an example to the promising juniors in the national set-up because talent can only carry a player so far ... it’s training and hard work that will shape a youngster into a top player.

While Nicol is still very much on top of her game, national No. 2 Low Wee Wern can take heart from a decent start to the year.

A loss in the first round at Cleveland may be a blot on the back of impressive performances at the Tournament of Champions (TOC) and Greenwich Open, where she made the quarter-finals and final respectively.

Penang state coach Aaron Soyza is confident that Wee Wern will continue to improve throughout the year.

“I feel that Wee Wern has shown progress ... although it’s not perfect. There is still more work that needs to be done,” said Aaron.

“It was a gamble to send her for three tournaments because she wasn’t in the best physical condition after losing in the first round of the Hong Kong Open last year.

“There weren’t enough tournaments last year but there are now. It just happened that they are all held back-to-back this time. Playing all the five setters from the first round in Greenwich definitely drained her out.

“To have made the quarter-final and the final of two tournaments is a pretty decent start to the year, but we’ll work on making improvements in the coming tournaments.”

Nicol and Wee Wern will enjoy about two weeks’ rest before competing in the Windy City Open in Chicago from Feb 24-March 3.

Tags / Keywords: squash, Nicol David, Cleveland Classic, Women’s Squash Association, WSA, Aaron Soyza

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