PUTRAJAYA: Squash queen Nicol David was in high spirits after a short meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday.
The world No. 1 returned home last week after a gruelling, but outstanding, season in which she won a record sixth world title and seven Women’s International Squash Players Association (Wispa) titles.
She recovered superbly from two surprise defeats, in the Singapore Masters and US Open, before going on to rewrite history and put Malaysia firmly on the world sports map.
That prompted Najib to invite Nicol and her parents – Desmond David and Anne Marie – to his office at the Perdana Putra Complex where he congratulated her for her record-breaking feat and phenomenal success over the years.
Najib hailed Nicol as Malaysia’s “most successful sports icon”, saying her ability to win the world title a record six times was a great accomplishment. He hoped that her success would spur other athletes to excel in their respective sports.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Malaysia, I would like to extend Nicol our heartiest congratulations,” he said.
“She is the perfect role model for aspiring athletes and all young Malaysians.”
“It was really a great honour to meet the Prime Minister and have him congratulate me and my parents for my success,” said the 28-year-old Nicol.
“I’m really grateful because without the support of the government, Sport Ministry, National Sports Council (NSC), SRAM and all the people back home, I wouldn’t have achieved anything.”
Nicol is home for a short break before heading back to Amsterdam, where she is based, to prepare for the Wispa World Series Finals in London from Jan 4-8.
“It’s good to be back, but home really is Penang and I can’t wait to meet my friends and enjoy the food,” said Nicol.
“I will be heading home tomorrow for a short break. Vicki Cardwell (the Aussie former world No. 1) and her son Josh will be in Penang to train and spar with me later this month.
“For now, I just want to enjoy my holiday and spend time with my family.”