Sunday, 30 March 2014 | MYT 10:19 PM
Develop the sport not find my successor, says Nicol
Nicol David believes that sport associations should not be too focused on searching for the next her. - filepic
PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David returns to her training base in Amsterdam on Monday to prepare for the prestigious British Open (from May 10-18) with some words of advice on the search for her successor.
The 30-year-old Nicol, who has been based in Amsterdam for the past 11 years, failed to add to her already impressive collection of seven world titles after falling to Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini in the semi-finals of the 29th Women’s World Championship two weeks ago.
Nicol, however, is not disheartened about losing in front of her hometown Penang crowd, and believes that Malaysian squash is still very much on the right track.
“I think right now at this moment, it is a bit unusual because I would have never thought I could get to this point in my career ... where everything falls into place. To have achieved what I have is really not something that is common,” said four-time British Open champion Nicol.
“Personally, I think that it should not be about finding that one person to emulate what I have done, but to educate the public, and the bigger group, not just squash, to have the same kind of drive and purpose.
“I am happy to be the benchmark for our juniors, in any sport, for them to believe that they can reach the same heights as well.
“It doesn’t have to happen but the bigger picture is to reach out to more kids, instead of just focusing all the resources to find that one person who can emulate my achievements. This should be something that all the sport associations should look at.”
Nicol also had kind words for fellow Penangite Low Wee Wern, who met expectations by reaching her fourth consecutive quarter-finals at the world meet, before narrowly losing to eventual champion and world No. 2 Laura Massaro of England.
“Wee Wern has done more than anyone can ever ask for someone her age ... she is probably the highest achiever in any sport in Malaysia at her age (23),” said Nicol.
“It’s good that she is getting due recognition but it’s more important that there shouldn’t be any direct comparison between us, because she has really done well.
“It should be the same for the juniors ... they should not be put under too much pressure to do too much because we don’t want to limit them when they are still young. It is more important that they set their own goals and targets because only then will they go far.”
While Nicol’s next tournament is only in May, world No. 7 Wee Wern is preparing for the Texas Open from April 8-13. She is seeded second and will face the lanky Sarah-Jane Perry of England in the first round.