Squash legend Nicol David gives back with community squash clinics

Squash legend Nicol David gives back with community squash clinics

The former world number one recently held an event at the state squash centre in Bukit Dumbar

RECENTLY, retired squash queen Datuk Nicol Ann David had a brief homecoming in Penang, but this time it was not just a trip home to catch up with family and friends.

She arrived with a personal mission to help promote fitness among adults and children.

She wants to encourage them to boost their fitness levels and self-esteem, while for children, they get to improve their English along the way too.

This is one simple way for Nicol to give back to society, for all the support and encouragement she received while she was at the pinnacle of squash.

Meeting at the state squash centre in Bukit Dumbar, which is named after her, Nicol was back where it all began for her.

She grinned when she sat down to an interview after hosting a coaching clinic for her fans and their children, as part of the wellness initiative that her charitable foundation and the insurance giant AIA Malaysia have collaborated on.

Nicol was the centre of attention among the squash players, friends and fans, who came to the centre to witness the homecoming of sorts for the former world number one.

Nicol spars with journalist Andrea Filmer on the court. – Ian McIntyre pic

As a young child, Nicol used to accompany her siblings and father Desmond David to the courts here, where she began honing her skills as a junior before she rose to become Malaysia’s first ever world champion for squash.

She reigned for 108 consecutive months as the world’s best player – which is a global record, another feather in the cap for the Penang-born athlete.

She is also now AIA Malaysia’s Ambassador and since the company is big on medical insurance, it was only a matter of time that Nicol would tie up with them to promote healthy living through a series of social media campaigns and coaching clinics.

Thanking AIA for their willingness to collaborate, Nicol said she has so many memories at Bukit Dumbar, including meeting with various officials and squash players.

“The coaching clinics I do tend to be fun. I try to make it memorable for the participants from adults to the children. The main aim is to create an interest in fitness.”

And Nicol beamed with pride that the children are absorbing the lessons.

Noting that she too had to make sacrifices to maintain a supreme fitness level, as squash is one sport which requires all the agility and speed to manoeuvre around the court.

Nicol stretches to warm up. Not just focused on squash, the former champion wants to instill the importance of fitness to all Malaysians. – Ian McIntyre pic

“The feedback I received from the parents is that the children become disciplined and alert after they undergo lessons at our coaching clinics.”

For now, the clinics are held at the foundation’s office in the Klang Valley.

Nicol however wants to expand them throughout the country, especially in Penang.

Her vision is to see children and adults improve on their fitness levels, as the country falls off the charts of the most obese nation in Southeast Asia.

The classes start with 62 children, ages seven and eight, who are enrolled in the coaching sessions, where one hour is devoted to the basic art of squash while another hour is devoted to learning basic English.

For children who are not well off, Nicol’s foundation provides a subsidy of up to 90% in some cases.

“So, we are serious about providing a balanced environment of education and coaching.”

Classes are held twice a week for the children.

Nicol gives some world class tips on the squash court. – Ian McIntyre pic

As for adults, Nicol is willing to help them shape up a high mobility lifestyle, so they shed weight and replace it with lean muscles.

She believes learning squash or fitness needs to be fun, so it does not become rigid or burdensome.

And what has Nicol been doing since she retired from squash? “Kickboxing,” she said.

Perhaps one day, Nicol could also be a champion in this martial art and the way she carries herself with high determination and discipline, it will not come as a surprise.

As for now, Nicol enjoys coaching the youth, hoping that they can become her proteges and perhaps one day bring honour to the country the way she did.

source – The Vibes


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