PETALING JAYA: British newspaper The Telegraph has listed squash queen Nicol David as one of the 20 greatest athletes in the world.
“Not many athletes can claim to have enjoyed the sort of dominance Nicol David has had in the world of squash.
“The 32-year-old Malaysian was world number one for a record 109 months until September last year, and has won three gold medals at World Games, two Commonwealth golds, and a remarkable eight World Open titles,” The Telegraph said.
It listed her among “the very best of athletes”, which includes footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, sprinter Usain Bolt, tennis players Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic and swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.
Nicol first appeared in the squash scene when she was 16, winning her first Women’s World Junior Squash Championship in 1999 before clinching her maiden major Tour title in February 2000.
She then went on to become the first Malaysian to win the Malaysian Open Squash Championship and the British Open and capturing the first of her eight World Championship crowns.
In January 2006, she became the first Asian woman to reach the world number one spot.
Nicol was unbeaten throughout 2008, when she had a 56-match unbeaten run, capturing the British Open title and her third World Championship crown. Her winning streak came to an end in 2009, when she lost to Natalie Grainger.
Nicol then went on to celebrate her 106th consecutive month at the top of the world rankings to surpass New Zealand’s Susan Devoy as the longest reigning world number one.
However, her unprecedented reign came to an end in September 2015 when she was usurped by El Welily as the new women’s world number one and when she suffered a shocking defeat to World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar at the Stars on the Bund China Open.
In July 2016, Nicol again achieved another milestone with her 151st successive month in the Top 10 rankings overtaking the previous record set by Peter Nicol in October 2006.