Legend Nicol credits her mother for setting good example

Closer than ever: Nicol David and her mother Ann Marie.

PETALING JAYA: No matter the age, one tends to have a special bond with their mothers and it’s no exception for eight-time world squash champion Datuk Nicol David.

Her mother Ann Marie David, 73, has been influential in her life – in her own quiet, unassuming and humble way.

Nicol, in a special tribute to her devoted mother, says their relationship has only grown stronger as she grows older.

“My relationship with my mum is closer than ever, ” said the 37-year-old Nicol, who ended her illustrious squash career in February, 2019. The former school teacher has taught Nicol and her sisters Lianne and Cheryl many things in life from their childhood days but more importantly, she had created an environment where they could explore their full potential.

“She gave my sisters and I the encouragement we needed to succeed in both academic and squash careers and she created that positive environment to grow up together with my dad (Desmond David) as a team effort, ” said Nicol.

Nicol said her mother, who grew up in Butterworth, was always very good in her studies too and was a school prefect and loved music, art and dancing. She was active in girl guides and always had a knack for teaching.

She trained in Bukit Nanas Teacher’s Training College for two years before teaching in SMJK (C) Chung Hwa Confucian for 20 years.

No wonder that her talents, humble traits and leadership qualities have been passed on to her children.

“My mum set an example for my sisters and I to be good and caring people to everyone.

“She makes it a point to acknowledge people who have helped her and in return, shows her gratitude always. She taught me to be humble and to appreciate everyone around us.”

It’s her selfless nature that Nicol loves the most.

“She is always patient, loving and kind. She makes it a point to be good to others each day and that’s what I admire most about her.”

Growing up with her mother around was easy but it was a challenge when Nicol had to leave the nest and be based in Amsterdam, Holland for most part of her playing career but it did nothing to the wonderful bond they already had.

“Our relationship stayed strong despite the distance because she knew that she was there with me and supported me even when she was not physically by my side, ” she said.

“We will speak over the phone or have video calls more in recent times but when I’m back home in Penang, I’ll do my best to spend time with her and my dad as much as I can. “They’re the priority when I’m home. I especially love our time during her cooking sessions in the house or when we have our ‘makan’ sessions.

Have there been a time when Nicol got upset with her mother or vice versa?

“To be honest, it’s not easy to get upset with my mum. In fact, I don’t think I was ever upset with her so I think we have no problems there.”

Although Ann is contented with what she has been doing, Nicol as a dutiful daughter, has a few things that she intends to do to make up for some of the lost time.

“Gardening is one of her pastimes and she loves to sing and play the guitar too. She is also into art, dancing and cooking. She is very close to her faith and loves to do a lot of work for her church. She also helps in local charity work too, ” said Nicol.

“But I would like to take her travelling and spend time by just eating all day and sharing stories.

“One of my plans is to get her a kitchen big enough for her to have a dining table for the family that she has always wanted.”

Behind great athletes, there are always a few people who have helped them realise their dreams – and for Nicol, it’s obvious that her mother and family have been her pillar of strength.

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