PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s former squash queen Datuk Nicol David has given the thumbs-up to the government for their commitment to help women in sports in their fight for equality.
In the 2020 Budget, the government has allocated RM10mil for women in sports.
The fund will seek to nurture more world-class women athletes like Nicol, diver Pandelela Rinong, bowler Shalin Zulkifli and rhythmic gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, to mention a few.
Nicol hopes the huge funding will increase women’s involvement in sports and debunk the biased cultural thinking associated with women and sports.
“This is amazing news! I can’t be happier. Truly proud and excited over the years coming ahead for women in sport, ” said Nicol.
“The investment will see more opportunities for women to reach the top of their game.”
Nicol admitted the lack of funding and the cultural bias towards women in sports were some of the toughest challenges faced by women athletes.
“In our culture, there are still beliefs that women have to be athletic and strong to play sports like men but in reality, women do have the strength and ability although we are physically different.
“It’s hard for women to make money from sport.
“There is disparity in prize money for women.
“I hope the investment will focus on girls at the lower level, right up to the competitive level.
“If funding is not guaranteed throughout these stages, it is very difficult for a woman athlete to choose sports as a career.
“Now, with the assurance that these funds will be distributed equally for all, I’m confident that the women athletes will have a fair chance to improve their game.”
Nicol said many women athletes have become role models for young aspiring athletes.
“It’s important to keep this momentum going. It’s the responsibility of everyone to give women an equal chance to make a living out of sports.”