I am so happy for Nicole Ann David for being the first Malaysian to win the British Open today. This 22 year old has come a long way indeed. I distinctly remember a picture of her in the papers a few years ago. She had just lost a tournament and the pix had captured her dejection so well that I could almost feel it.
Nicole has bounced back like a rubber ball and is now at the top of her squash career. The British Open win is the fifth championship she has chalked up this year.
Just a couple of months ago, a group of us Famemas members went to cheer her at the CIMB Malaysian Open. Armed with kompang and the Jalur Gemilang, we cheered her to victory. Of course the cheering was only a teeny-weeny contributing factor but Nicole was gracious enough to acknowledge and thank the crowd for its vociferous support.
Having got to know Nicole during the Olympic Torch Run in Greece last year, made me jubilate all the more on her behalf. She is a friendly, down-to-earth and humble person and has absolutely no airs about her at all. She's currently World No. 3 and I hope she'll climb up to the top spot soon.
Nicole should be an inspiration to our sports people. Malaysians can make a mark in the international sporting arena. We need not be Jaguh Kampung. Nicole is proof of that.
My favourite sport is badminton, so that's about the only game I'll watch on telly. Whenever I see our shuttlers crumbling under pressure, I'm dismayed at their weak mental strength. Compare that to other players, the Danes for example. In one All-England tournament, the Danish double players were down against their opponents (Indonesian or Chinese, I can't remember). It looked almost certain that Denmark will lose. However, in the face of defeat, the Danes coolly fought back point by point and emerged victorious in the tournament. That's the spiritlah!
Fight till the end! Aiyo, I remember one game where a Malaysian shuttler was so badly affected by the umpire's biased decision that he lost his concentration after that. It was a fast downhill ride from there. The Malaysians lost that match. When it comes to fighting spirit, especially in badminton, hats off to Foo Kok Keong. His never-say-die attitude will long be remembered.
In fact, all of us, whether sportsmen or laymen should take a leaf out of Foo's book. Don't give up without a fight.
Which was what Nicole did. Go, Nicole, go!