David and Shabana win world titles

From CNN.com of Sunday, December 4, 2005

Winning kiss. Malaysia's David celebrates her World Open triumph.
HONG KONG, China (Reuters) -- Malaysia's Nicol David made history for the fourth time this year when victory over top-seeded Rachael Grinham of Australia on Sunday made her the first Asian woman to win the World Open squash title.
The men's tournament was clinched by Egypt's Amr Shabana who swept aside Australia's David Palmer 11-6 11-7 11-8.
David, 22, secured an 8-10 9-2 9-6 9-7 victory over Grinham, holding off a late resurgence from 2-7 to 7-7 in a lung-stretching match.
David had already become the first home player to capture the Malaysian Open, the first Asian woman to win the British Open and the first Asian woman to become world number one.
"Actually I am still in the focus I created in order to play the match," she said soon after her latest triumph. "So I hardly know how I feel about all this.
"But I do feel that this is just the beginning of my career, and that I have so much work to do and there is so much improvement I can make."
(Five more paragraphs follow on Shabana's victory.)

Prime Minister Congratulates Nicol

From Bernama of December 6, 2005

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 (Bernama) -- "You are now more famous than me" that was what the Prime Minister said when congratulating national squash queen, Nicol David for becoming the world number one woman squash player.
Calling her using a hand-phone, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told Nicol that she was the pride of the nation.
"I notice you try very much for success and we're very happy with your achievement. It's fantastic.
"You are what I said as the 'cemerlang, gemilang and terbilang'. You are the 'terbilang'," he said.
Abdullah spoke to the 22-year-old champion at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Base here Tuesday, before leaving for Saudi Arabia to attend the Third Extraordinary Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Mecca from tomorrow.
Nicol capped a superb year-long run in squash by bagging the prestigious World Squash Open championship title in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Currently ranked third in the world, she was in devastating form as she powered to an 8-10, 9-2, 9-6, 9-7 win over world No 2 Rachael Grinham from Australia to emerge as the youngest woman world squash champion.
The Prime Minister hoped Nicol would continue to be successful and be the champion for many more years to come.
"You are still young," he said.
Abdullah told Nicol that he had sent a congratulatory letter to Nicol's parents.
"I already sent a letter to your mum and dad to say thank you for bringing up such a fine person like you.
"Your dad is like Pak Sidek (the late Datuk Sidek Kamar, father of former badminton stars, the Sidek brothers) who had raised badminton stars," he said.
Abdullah advised Nicol to take good care of herself.
"I wish you all the best, take care, don't get yourself hurt. It is important you take care of yourself, you will be alright," he added.
The Prime Minister also wished Nicol Happy New Year and Happy Christmas.
Nicol's father, Desmond David when contacted in Penang said they were happy and surprised to receive the congratulatory message from the Prime Minister himself.
He said he received two letters one for Nicol and another one for him and his wife this morning.
"Both are four-paragraph letters, congratulating Nicol and us," Desmond said.

In another story the same day Bernama reported that the National Sports Council (NSC) clarified that the RM200,000 reward for Malaysia's squash queen Nicol Ann David was in appreciation and a special recognition for her series of wins and emerging as the women's world number one in the sport.
NSC director-general, Dr Ramlan Aziz said the reward was not only for Nicol being crowned world champion following her defeat of Rachel Grinham of Australia at the World Open in Hong Kong which ended on Sunday, but also for her efforts in getting to be World No. 1.
"The NSC has been observing her consistency. This year alone she won seven professional titles.
"Besides being world champion, she also won the British, Kuwait, Dutch, Malaysian and the Carol Weumuller opens and a gold medal at the World Games in Germany last July. This only part of her series of wins," Dr Ramlan said when contacted here Tuesday.
Dr Ramlan said that although the highest monetary incentive under NSC's Sports Winners Scheme (Shakam) for Malaysian athletes who won at the world level like the Olympics was RM80,000, the NSC felt that Nicol should be rewarded more based on her series of victories.
"Squash is not competed at the Olympics. As such this reward is not from Shakam but is given in appreciation of her efforts, not solely for becoming world champion," he said.
Dr Ramlan added that non-Olympics events would also be given special consideration for athletes who did the nation proud.


Tuesday August 02, 2005

SQUASH/Malaysian Open: Smashing Nicol

By K.M. Boopathy

NICOL David became the first local player ever to win the CIMB Malaysian Women’s Open Squash Championship and she did it in style when she outgunned World Champion Vanessa Atkinson of the Netherlands at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Nicol, the third seed, came back twice to halt Vanessa’s title defence in the 26th edition of the championship with a battling 3-9, 9-3, 1-9, 9-1, 9-4 win in 52 minutes.
The win was Nicol’s fourth title of the year on the professional circuit.
Nicol had earlier won the KL, Kuwait and Dutch Opens and came into the tournament with a realistic chance of winning the Malaysian Open, having also clinched gold in the World Games in Duisburg, Germany two weeks ago.
However, it did not look promising in the early stages of the match as a determined Vanessa, who has now lost twice to the Malaysian in the last two months, gave Nicol no room in the first game which she won 9-3.
HARD DAY: Nicol David attempts to retrieve a shot from Vanessa Atkinson in the final of the Malaysian Open at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday. INSET: Nicol with the trophy — Pic: KHALID REDZA
Cheered on by some 1,000 fans, Nicol struck back in the second game as she controlled the momentum to draw level with a 9-3 win.
It was a mental, as well as physical battle and Vanessa showed why she was the world champion with some breathtaking drops and drives to win the third game 9-1.
But her exertions in the five-game marathon against Natalie Grinham of Australia in Friday’s semi-final began to show and Nicol was quick to take advantage.
Nicol romped home 9-1 in the fourth, taking the game to a decider and with Vanessa clearly exhausted, the Malaysian sealed the title with a 9-4 triumph.
Nicol was delighted with her victory, having beaten the World No 1 (Rachel Grinham in the semi-final) and the world champion in the same tournament.
"This is my first Malaysian Open title and it feels amazing to win it in front of such a fantastic crowd.
"I was very tired but I hung on. Vanessa had two five-setters in the tournament and I knew that she would start making mistakes at some stage of the match.
"The win is a confidence booster but I need to keep working hard as the top players will now start finding ways to beat me."
Vanessa admitted that Nicol managed to stay in the match all the time and she had nothing left in the fifth game to mount a serious challenge.
Nicol received US$4,750 (RM17,955) while Vanessa received US$3,375 (RM12,758).
Result — Final: Nicol David (Mas) bt Vanessa Atkinson (Ned) 3-9, 9-3, 1-9, 9-1, 9-4.

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