PETALING JAYA: World woman squash champion Nicol David chalked up another accolade for her outstanding achievements last year when she was named as the winner of the 2005 Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM)-100Plus Athlete of the Year award last night.
It was her second award she picked up this year after receiving the 2005 National Sportswoman of the Year award in April.
Nicol got the nod over four other nominees - lawn bowler Nor Iryani Azmi, doubles pair Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty, pole vaulter Roslinda Samsu and gymnast Ng Shu Wai.
While Nor Iryani won the world singles title last year and Shu Wai, the only male in the fray who bagged four gold medals at the Manila SEA Games last December were also worthy picks, Nicol's consistent performances at the international level carried heavier weight.
The 22-year-old Penang lass had a spectacular season last year, beating all the current top players en route to winning six titles – the Kuala Lumpur Open (February), Kuwait Open (March), Dutch Open (June), Malaysian Open (July), British Open (October) and Carol Weymuller Open in New York (October).
She also won the World Games gold medal in Duisburg, Germany in July.
And in December, Nicol topped it off by becoming the first Asian woman to be crowned world champion in Hong Kong after beating Racheal Grinham of Australia in the final.
The victory in Hong Kong also earned her the number one ranking in the world.
Members of the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association (Wispa) later voted the 22-year-old lass as the winner of the 2005 World Player of the Year award.
Nicol was not present to receive her prize at the ceremony last night because she is currently on a promotional tour in Europe. Her father Desmond David received the award, which comes with RM5,000 and a trophy on her behalf.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak gave away the award.
The last two winners of the SAM award had been men – diver Bryan Lomas and swimmer Lim Keng Liat for 2004 and 2003 respectively.