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Thursday March 5, 2009

Squash: $pecial reward for Nicol

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob

KUALA LUMPUR: World champion Nicol David received a special incentive of RM50,000 from the National Sports Council (NSC) yesterday for her 100% win record in 10 tournaments on the Women’s International Squash Players Association (Wispa) circuit last year.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said after presenting a mock cheque to the Malaysian superstar in Bukit Jalil, that the reward was specially for athletes who excel in sports not contested at the Olympics.

“We will give out special incentives to deserving athletes like Nicol, who has achieved what no other Malaysian athlete had managed to do so,” he said.

He added that if squash were in the Olympics, Nicol would have received a RM1 million reward if she emerged as the champion.

World number one, Nicol David received the special incentive of RM50,000 from Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri in Bukit Jalil Wednesday. AZMAN GHANI / The Star

“We are proud of her great achievements.

“She created history by winning all 10 Wispa titles and this is indeed a great success for a Malaysian athlete. She is a good role model for the young and upcoming athletes and I hope more will follow in her footsteps,” said Ismail Sabri.

He felt that the RM50,000 reward was not a big amount for the successes achieved by Nicol.

“I will raise the matter in the Cabinet with the hope of increasing the amount for the achievements of our athletes in non-Olympic sports,” said Ismail.

Nicol started her season of competition yesterday in the Kuala Lumpur Open and Ismail wished her the best of luck in her defence of the title.

Last year, Nicol began with victory in the Apawamis Open in January and besides the KL Open, she also emerged as the champion in the British Open, Seoul Open, Malaysia Open, Singapore Masters, Dutch Open, World Open, Qatar Classics and Hong Kong Open.

Nicol, who turned professional in 2000, said that it was an honour for her to gain recognition for her achievements last year.

“The incentive is an extra boost for me to kick start my first tournament (KL Open) on a winning note. I will do my best to maintain my 100% record,” said Nicol, who will also compete in 10 tournaments this year.

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