Malaysia’s world number one, Nicol David has been inducted into the World Squash Federation Hall of Fame as part of the World Squash Awards programme at the World Open Championship/WSF AGM dinner in Rotterdam. She is the first player, male or female, ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame while still competing. She joins an elite group of just 12 all-time greats:
F.D. Amr Bey – Egypt
Janet Shardlow – England
Hashim Khan – Pakistan
Jonah Barrington – Ireland
Heather McKay – Australia
Geoff Hunt – Australia
Susan Devoy – New Zealand
Jahangir Khan – Pakistan
Michelle Martin – Australia
Jansher Khan – Pakistan
Sarah Fitz-Gerald – Australia
The 28-year-old from Penang, was inducted by compatriot HRH Tunku Imran, the WSF Patron and IOC member, who himself is a former Malaysian national squash champion. David is enjoying an astonishing career in squash. In 2005, she began an unbroken reign at the top of the world rankings and already has 56 World Tour titles to her credit, and has now surpassed her mentor Sarah Fitz-Gerald‘s five world titles.
David has almost single-handedly put squash on the map in her home country and earlier this year won a record eighth Malaysian Sportswoman of the Year award. She won her first of three (quadrennial) Asian Games gold medals in 1998, aged just 15, and in April this year claimed her eighth successive (biennial) Asian Championship crown.
On hearing of her WSF Hall of Fame induction, David said “It is great to be recognised while I am still competing – and to have my achievements compared with the top players in history. It is truly fantastic and I am really honoured. But even though I have been playing the professional circuit for over ten years this honour doesn’t mean I plan to finish yet!”
At the same World Squash Awards, three of 2011’s great success stories were recognised:
WISPA Player of the Year – Laura Massaro
2011 has been an outstanding year for the 28-year-old from England. After steadily rising in the World Rankings, she has now reached the giddy heights of World #4 after outstanding victories in Cleveland, where she beat both Jenny Duncalf and Nicol David. She beat Nicol David once again to reach the Singapore Masters final and most recently won her first World Series event at the US Open. Massaro now has 9 WISPA titles to her name.
WISPA Young Player of the Year – Nour El Tayeb
Still only 18, the highly-promising young Egyptian is already ranked #12 in the world. In 2011 she won the World Junior title and the Irish Open, beating Jaclyn Hawkes in the longest women’s match in history under the current scoring system. Tayeb was a semi-finalist in the Qatar Classic. Nour also won this prestigious award in 2010.
WISPA Most Improved Player of the Year – Raneem El Weleily
22-year-old Raneem’s impressive year has brought her victories in both the Hurghada International and Carol Weymuller Open, where she beat the world number’s 5, 7, 3 and 2 on her way to the title and a world ranking high of #7. She was twice WISPA Young Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005.