Squash: Big boost for Nicol

  • Other Sport
  • Wednesday, 05 Mar 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Nicol David has received a big boost for her defence of the CIMB Kuala Lumpur Open squash championship title.

CIMB Investment Bank have renewed their sponsorship of the Malaysian woman squash star for another two years until 2010.

The bank's deputy chief executive, Charon Wardini Mokhzani, said that they were happy to continue their sponsorship of Nicol as her track record in world squash had been astounding.

“Her ability to maintain her position at the top of the Wispa rankings for the last 20 months is reflection of her skills, perseverance and commitment to the sports.

“What impresses us most is her determination and will to succeed,'' said Charon after signing the sponsorships deal with Nicol yesterday.

All smiles: Nicol David shaking hands with CIMB Investment Bank deputy chief executive Charon Wardini Mokhzani after signing a two-year contract extension on Tuesday. Looking on is Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) president Datuk A. Sani Karim.

However, Nicol chose not to reveal the amount of the sponsorship.

“I thank CIMB for the sponsorship, which will be a big boost for my squash career. The sponsorship will definitely inspire me to achieve better results in the Wispa tournaments this year,'' said Nicol, who won eight titles on the circuit last year.

Nicol said that she would compete in 11 tournaments this year and her main goals were to win the prestigious British Open in May and the World Open in Manchester in October.

In the British Open last year, Nicol failed in the defence of the title, losing to third seed Rachael Grinham of Australia in the final. She also failed in the defence of the World Open title, crashing to a second-round defeat by Shelley Kitchen of New Zealand.

The KL Open begins today and Nicol, who will be gunning for the title for the fifth time, has Rachael and Kitchen in her half of the draw. Nicol plays against team-mate Sharon Wee in the first round and is tipped to meet the sixth seeded Kitchen in the quarter-finals.

On her chances against Kitchen and the third seeded Rachael, Nicol said that she needed to first keep her focus on the match against Sharon.

Nicol has had a good start to the season. She won the Apawamis Open in New York in February and a week later bagged her sixth Asian individual title in Kuwait. The KL Open is her second Wispa tournament this year.

World number two and Natalie Grinham have switched nationality and the Australia-born player will be representing Holland in the KL Open.

The Malaysian challenge in the men's competition will be led by newly-crowned Asian champion Mohd Azlan Iskandar, who is seeded third, and Ong Beng Hee, who is seeded fourth. Azlan won the title in 2006 while Beng Hee has yet to win the tournament.

The first-round matches will be held at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil today and matches from the quarter-finals will be held at the Berjaya Times Square.

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