PETALING JAYA: Malaysian squash queen Nicol David wants women who are battling insecurity to take up sports to be strong and confident about themselves.
The Penangite, who announced her retirement from the sport in February, was back in Malaysia for a short visit to launch her motivational campaign series, POWER.
At her meet-and-greet session with the press on Wednesday, her message to women was one of the loudest.
“It (sports) starts from the home. Parents must encourage their kids to pick up sports because it is something their children will benefit from in so many ways,” she said.
“Sports will build fundamental values that will help them.
“If they are feeling unfeminine, it is a tough thing to tackle. But they can do so much more if they have sports in their lives.
“It will help them feel prettier, they will also look and feel fresh. Not to mention, they will have good skin because they are sweating it out.
“You will not be intimidated because sports can give you that confidence.”
Nicol was speaking from experience, after being crowned world champion a record eight times and holding the world No. 1 spot for 108 consecutive months in a career spanning 20 years.
One of her primary goals when she officially hangs up her racquet in June is to promote women’s squash.
“I will be working closely with the Professional Squash Association to increase the visibility of the women’s professional tour and help female players gain more recognition and grow.
“Through my foundation, I also want to empower young girls through sports and squash in particular. To do this, I will be involved in a series of talks and writing articles.
“I have three values that I live by —power, determination and heart. It is what represents me. So, I have created this campaign to share my values and I want it to be a movement everyone can follow.”
The 35-year-old also felt strongly about squash being included as an Olympic sport, after it was excluded from the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“We have come a long way through our campaigns and we have built squash to where it is now.
“I personally feel that if we continue to build our sport, we will get there eventually but we can’t customise to fit into the Olympics criteria because it always changes.
“That’s not our focus; we want to focus on developing the sport.”
Asked if she has plans to coach, Nicol said she has but not in a national capacity.
“I will be doing my bit through my foundation. I would love to contribute (to the national team) in some way. But to commit to one thing will be difficult, and it won’t be fair to the national squad.”