KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash legend Nicol David has dedicated her life to the sport.
Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director Mejar (Rtd) S. Maniam said that even as a young teenager, she was looking for anyone who could give her a challenge.
“I distinctly remember when she was running around with her little ponytail looking at anyone who could give her a game and at one point she was eyeing me as her competitor,” said Maniam.
“We had some really keen tussles when she was only 13 and she was determined to beat me, which she eventually did at 14 or 15 years old, but this is how good she was.”
Maniam also recalled having been with Nicol when she won her two World Junior Championship titles in Antwerp, Belgium in 1999 and in Penang in 2001.
She went into the annals of the championships as the first player to successfully defend the coveted title.
The 65-year-old pointed out that Nicol was an extremely talented player that she did not require much coaching.
“Even when she was young, the speed at which she moved around the court and her perception of the game was outstanding, she could move her opponent around the court at will,” he said.
“She knew what shots to play and when to play them, coupled with the fact that she was small and strong but she could cover the court with great ease.
“She had the ability to choose the right shot at the right time.”
He added that despite her success, Nicol remained the same humble teenager and one who showed exemplary conduct.
“I’ve always found her as a very fine example of what a squash player should be, committed, dedicated and works very hard.
“She is also a good listener and I don’t think at any moment did success ever got to her head, always humble, always smiling, very easy to talk to and people enjoyed her company.”
Maniam expressed hope that Nicol will continue to be involved in squash.
“If you go by what she did in squash, the enthusiasm and commitment to whatever she does, she is going to do it very well and if she is going to be giving any lectures, I would love to listen to her as she has got a wealth of experience being at the top of the world,” he said.
“We are going to miss her but everything must come to an end. Her body is at the tail end and knowing Nicol she wants to be the best and not play second fiddle.
“She has brought Malaysian squash to another platform for which I am thankful and I want to wish her the best.”
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Thank you, dear GOAT