After the Prime Minister of Malaysia, two people, who head the popularity charts in that country; are sports heroes Nicol David and Lee Chong Wei. Nicol David is women’s squash player, whose feats in the sport of her choice are unmatched by any other professional squash player of the world. Lee Chong Wei has ruled the badminton world in the same vein for over a decade. In February 2015, Nicol breached the world record for the length of time that a squash player has kept the top spot in world rankings. In February 2015, Nicol went past New Zealand’s Susan Davoy, who remained the world’s top ranked squash player for 105 months. As of June 2015, Nicol is still the world’s no.1 player for 110 consecutive months.
The phenomenal feat of the celebrated Malaysian woman is the latest milestone of her glittering squash career, which includes a record eight World Championship titles, two Commonwealth Games gold medals and four Asian Games gold medals. Even before Nicol reached the enviable sporting achievement, she was honored in New York in January during the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions. Tournament Chairman John Nimick and Associate Director Beth Rasin presented Nicol with a congratulatory poster signed by the rest of the world’s top players.
Nicol David was born in the Malaysian city of Penang and she began playing squash, when she was just 5 years old. By age of 8, she had the services of a professional coach and while she was training at the Bukit Dumbar Squash Centre, her talent was spotted by Ee Phoeh Hoon, who thought it fit that Nicol and her younger sister could represent her home state of Penang. At the age of 13, Nicol reached the quarterfinals of the World Junior Squash Championships and two years later in 1999, the 15-year-old Nicol became the youngest woman to win a World Junior Championship. The Malaysian defended that title in 2001 to become the first woman to clinch the junior championship title twice. By this time Nicol had already joined the Women’s International Squash Players Association. Her victory in the 2005 Kuala Lumpur Open signaled the start of a breakout season for Nicol David and she has never looked back since then. In January 2006 she was officially ranked the no.1 women’s squash player in the world. Until then, no Asian woman had held that status.
Nicol’s achievements in squash place her among the most celebrated athletes in the history of sports. Chairman Nimick also identified other no.1 record holders in sports and revealed that Tiger Woods was no.1 Golf Professional for 138 months; 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses kept the record for 132 months; in snooker, Stephen Hendry occupied the no.1 spot for 108 months and tennis star Steffi Graf retained the no.1 place for 94 months. WSA Chief Executive Tommy Berden had high praise for WSA Tour’s biggest star. He said that to become number one in the world in any sport is a unique and outstanding performance in itself, but to hold the top spot for 106 months is simply astonishing. He added that such fabulous accomplishment must be recognized. 4-time Egyptian world champion Amr Shabana said he had known Nicol since was just 11 year old and knew that she was special. Her achievement in squash is amazing and she is not finished yet!! Nicol David herself was very modest, when she said that being number one is something one has to earn. She added that as far as she was concerned, it was really about playing the tournaments and everything else was a bonus.