GEORGE TOWN: The International Squash Centre in Bukit Dumbar here where world squash champion Datuk Nicol David first played the game, has been renamed the Nicol David International Squash Centre in her honour.
The centre, which belongs to the Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd (PBA), was where Nicol picked up the game and spotted as a potential player when she was just eight.
Nicol said she was truly honoured that the state government and PBA named the centre after her.
"I am a little part of this continuous growing squash family and hope more juniors will aspire to become world class players.
"I would also like to thank all those who have motivated me and have been my pillars of strength, including my father, sisters and all my coaches," she said in her speech, before the renaming of the centre by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng Thursday. The centre has 12 courts.
In his speech, Lim said Nicol had helped Penang and the country shine on the global map over the last decade.
"This centre may not be as glamourous as other famous venues but it is unique because of its history. It was here that Nicol first picked up a squash racket and was given coaching.
"She was spotted by Squash Racket Association of Penang committee member Ee Phoeh Hoon when she was only eight and she won her first international title in 1994 (Hong Kong Under-13).
"At the age of 15, she became the youngest women's world junior champion, when she won the Women's Junior Squash Championship in 1999, in Belgium," Lim added.
He said Penangites were proud of Nicol because she had proven again and again that a Malaysian could take on the best in the world and win.
"It is our fervent hope that the centre will shine on as a centre for excellence in squash, particularly among youths.
"We hope its story and your story will inspire other young players to reach for their dreams," he told Nicol.
Nicol has won 44 international open titles since turning professional in 2000. She is a four-time world champion.
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