It was an evening of enthusiasm, nostalgia and bittersweet emotions yesterday as history was made at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil. Datuk Nicol David was honoured by the National Sports Council as the main court at the National Squash Centre was named after her.
The vibrant event kick started with a grand welcome for Datuk Nicol as she walked through a guard of honour hoisting squash racquets. Dignitaries present included Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim, NSC Director-General Datuk Zolkples Embong and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) President Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar.
Prior to the officiation, a video presentation of Nicol’s childhood days and her journey in squash were screened featuring insightful interviews from her parents and school teachers. As the Sports Minister officiated the ceremony, naming the court “Nicol David Arena”, the loud cheers from the crowd surpassed the sounds of the vibrant fireworks. Nicol was clearly overwhelmed as she couldn’t hold back her tears. It was a proud moment for Nicol and her parents as they stood on the podium, taking in the moment and accepting the honour, support and encouragement that came from the crowd comprising of supporters from all walks of life.
The Nicol David Gallery behind the main squash court displays her numerous trophies and medals, outfits from previous tournaments and pictures from her early days in school and in squash.
A group of 40 young supporters of Nicol from Hope Worldwide were thrilled to be able to meet her during the fan session along with many other supporters who showed up to honour the Queen of Squash. The 1-hour “Meet the Fans” session organised by Squash Stars enabled fans to ask Nicol questions and receive autographed T-shirts and posters.
In sum, it was a memorable evening honouring excellence in sportsmanship and a tribute to a deserving star – Nicol David.
Photos courtesy of Azuan Ahmad Zahidi