PETALING JAYA: Trust Nicol David to give the nation a lift in troubled Covid-19 times.
The now retired eight-time world champion squash player has claimed the World Games Greatest-Athlete-of-All-Time honour.
The 37-year-old Penangite was the clear winner with 318,943 votes in the final round of 10 athletes after the worldwide poll closed last night.
Nicol, the only Asian athlete shortlisted for the award, garnered almost double the total number of votes against second placed competitor James Kehoe of Ireland.
The tug-of-war athlete notched 113,120 votes while Ukraine’s power-lifter Larysa Soloviova came in third with 80,789 votes.
Nicol also led the field when the second and final phase of voting started on Jan 21 where only the top 10 candidates – who keep all of their votes thus far – remained in the process.
Altogether, 23 past and present athletes representing various sports from all editions of the World Games’ 40-year history were selected for the worldwide poll.
Nicol, armed with a squash racquet, has always strived to fly the flag high for Malaysia since she was small.
And her latest accomplishment is something she will cherish forever and she expressed her sincere thanks to those who supported her.
“These past few days I’ve been truly overwhelmed by all the love. You took your time to vote and share with your family, friends and media about my nomination.
“It means the world to me how each of you have taken this to heart and I want to give my heart back to you all, ” said Nicol, who has won three gold and one bronze medal over four outings in the World Games.
Nicol earlier commented it came as a surprise to be in the company of other top athletes and she was already grateful to be nominated in the first place.
“Just to have the recognition through playing squash is great and hopefully, it can elevate the attention for the future of the sport, ” said Nicol, who called time on her illustrious career in 2019.
Nicol is truly a shining example to aspiring Malaysian sports athletes.
She spent an unprecedented nine years atop the women’s squash world rankings between 2006 and 2015 as well as winning 81 professional titles.
Nicol is also the most successful Malaysian athlete at the Asian Games with a total of seven gold medals from 1998 to 2018. Five of them were won in the singles event.