THE NEWS of squash queen Nicol David’s retirement at the end of the 2018/2019 Professional Squash Association Tour season in June came as a shock to many.
The eight-time World Champion – World Number One for 112 months – was an idol to several upcoming Malaysian athletes, one of them being Malaysia’s 23-year-old welterweight athlete Agilan “Alligator” Thani.
The Sentul-born martial artist explained why she is the greatest Malaysian sporting icon of all time.
“There’s only one Malaysian athlete who’s my number one idol, and it is Nicol Ann David,” Thani proudly said.
“I believe she is the greatest squash player of all time, and she really inspired me to be a better version of myself every day.”
The ONE Championship athlete described her remarkable journey, which stretches over two decades, as a tough path.
“To be a champion in any sport is hard, not everyone can achieve a feat like hers. What makes her even more special is that she stayed a champ for about eight years.”
“In my eyes, she is the Georges St-Pierre of Malaysia. She has taken the sport to a new level.”
As a kid, he used to see her name appear in newspapers and watch her on television whenever he had the chance.
He always hoped he would have met his idol one day, and that day came at ONE: CLASH OF HEROES at Kuala Lumpur in 2016.
The welterweight star defeated Canada’s James Kouame with Nicol David watching at cageside on that memorable night.
“She’s just awesome. I met her when I was 4-0 and it was unbelievable.”
“I couldn’t recognize her,” he joked.
The Penang-born athlete ends her illustrious career with 81 PSA titles from 102 finals.
In addition to her eight World Championship wins, David also lifted five British Open titles, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, five Asian Games gold medals and three World Games gold medals.