David 'hungry' after 9-year reign ends

Malaysia's Nicol David posing with her gold medal after defeating compatriot Wee Wern Low in the women's individual squash finals at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Malaysia's Nicol David posing with her gold medal after defeating compatriot Wee Wern Low in the women's individual squash finals at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian squash queen Nicol David has vowed to fight to regain the world No. 1 ranking after her record run of nine years at the top finally came to an end.

In a video message to her fans, she said that she was "hungry" to snatch back the top spot from Egypt's Raneem El Welily, a feat she could manage after the ongoing China Open.

"I just want to say to all my Malaysian fans, thank you so much for all your support," David said.

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"I'm so proud to be Malaysian and just to be hungry and fight for the No.1 position for the country and make the nation proud."

She dropped to world No. 2 in the September rankings, ending an incredible spell that dates back to August 2006 - an unbroken sequence of 109 months.

The 32-year-old from Penang has won eight World Opens, six Asian Games gold medals, two more at the Commonwealth Games as well as claiming a host of other titles around the world.

However, she is just five points behind the 26-year-old El Welily, meaning the Malaysian could reclaim the ranking quickly.

The eight world titles in David's glittering career is a record and she had been unbeaten for 51 matches stretching over 13 months in 2006 and 2007.

El Welily, who spent eight months as world No. 2, finally toppled the Malaysian after capturing three major titles this year. She became the first Egyptian woman to become a world No. 1 in any sport.

"Nicol has been No. 1 for so long and the gap between her and all of us has been so huge that to get close to her is an achievement in itself," she told the World Squash Federation website.

"To be the person to finally overtake her is huge for me," the Alexandria-born player added.

"I know that the challenge now is proving whether I'm worthy of staying there or not.

"If I want to do that, then it all rests on how I perform this season."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2015, with the headline 'David 'hungry' after 9-year reign ends'. Print Edition | Subscribe