Let’s Nic ’em from schools

Nicol: ‘Talent identification at schools should be done properly and it should not be limited to just physical education classes.’

PETALING JAYA: Former world No. 1 squash player Nicol David said more can be done to identify sporting talents at the grassroots.

The eight-time world champion expressed her views as one of the guests in the National Sports Council (NSC) webinar “Women in Sports” yesterday, which also included diving queen Pandelela Rinong and bowling icon Shalin Zulkifli.

The 37-year-old Nicol, who was the world No. 1 for a record 108 months, believed that there are a lot of untapped sporting talents at the schools. And she challenged all stakeholders to do more to encourage girls in sports.

“In terms of developing talents, we have to start from the schools. I feel that there are a lot of hidden talents at schools and we have to nurture them early, ” said Nicol, speaking from her current base in Colombia, South America.

“Talent identification at schools should be done properly and it should not be limited to just physical education classes.”

Nicol, who is honoured to be seen as a benchmark for aspiring athletes, said many of her career achievements were made possible because of NSC’s full support.

“We’ve to give them the credit because without that support, as a professional squash player, it would have been a very challenging route for me, ” said Nicol.

“I don’t think there are any other countries that supports their squash athletes as much as Malaysia.”

She added it was also time to change the mindset that one cannot make a living through sports.

“We have to change the stigma that we can make a living from sports, so that kids can go on and fulfill their sporting dreams.

“We need to get more women and girls involved in all level in sports, as an athlete, an administrator, consultant and coaches.

Nicol had hoped to launch her foundation this year but her plans has been interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I definitely hope to come back to Malaysia when the travel restrictions are eased so that I can see my family again. I also hope to continue the progress on my foundation and I’m definitely excited for the new year, ” she added.

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