YOUR report “End of the reign” (The Star, Sept 2), on Nicol David losing her No 1 spot in the world ranking, would have sent waves of alarm across the sports fraternity.
However, I believe it is a temporary setback. Given the fighter that she is, she will bounce back and reclaim her rightful spot.
Though it sounds disappointing, almost sounding as if it is the end of the road, let us take heart of the fact that Nicol deservingly held this position for almost a decade.
She kept us on the world map for the right reason, dominating the squash world almost single-handedly.
Not that she lacked quality competitors, she was simply a class above the others.
One can only imagine the sacrifice and hard work she must have put in to achieve and maintain this feat. The long and arduous hours of training, the observation of a rigid diet, coupled with the building of psychological and mental strength is a must for all athletes striving for excellence.
Success does not come overnight. It is privy only to people who set specific goals and then work hard consistently to achieve them.
Nicol is one such fine example. While other teenagers and young adults were busy attending to their worldly needs and enjoying their lives, Nicol spent the time in the squash courts and the gymnasium.
I can only marvel at the role played by Nicol’s parents in providing the financial needs and moral support, and in engaging professional help over a long period of time to help her develop her game.
They can be proud of not only producing a world champion in the game but also a champion in sportsmanship.
It is always a joy to watch our queen in action, with all her grace, flair and skills, running confidently all over the court. Her never-say-die attitude and perseverance has always worked in her favour, minus some hiccups, and these qualities must be emulated by all those who aspire to be in her shoes.
Over the years, she has been winning almost all major squash competitions, and she has become a global ambassador of the game.
Squash and Nicol simply cannot be separated. Deservingly, she has received various local and international awards, including being bestowed the title of Datuk.
If only squash was included in the Olympics, I believe Nicol would have delivered the elusive first gold medal for our country.
Datuk Lee Chong Wei, another sports personality the country is proud to have, came agonisingly close in the last Olympics but had to settle for silver.
It is a pity that beyond Nicol, we do not have a successor of the same calibre and mettle. It is never too late though.
The sports association with the support of the sports ministry ought to take concrete measures and initiatives to unveil new talent to fill the gap and void when Nicol retires.
To sum it up, Nicol deserves much more than all the accolades she has got. She may have lost the number one ranking in the world, but she will remain number 1 in the hearts of all Malaysians!
Our best wishes to you, Nicol!
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