After Asian Games, Nicol all set for China Open

Nicol David’s next tournament will be the China Open. (Bernama pic)

SEPANG: The gold and bronze medals won at her last appearance in the Asian Games will be Datuk Nicol Ann David’s morale boosters to pursue success in the new season of the PSA World Tour.

“It always gives nice vibes to win after some time … it is also good to win a gold medal in the Asian Games.”

“Feeling fresh after the Asian Games, I think I will start strong (at the China Open) in the new competition season. My goal is to start every match with a good result. The China Open is the start of the season where all the top 20 players will be playing,” Nicol said when met upon her arrival from Jakarta at Kuala Lumpur International Airport here today.

The national squash superstar arrived after competing at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games before boarding a flight to Shanghai, China, for the China Squash Open which starts on Wednesday and lasts until September 9.

On August 26, the 35-year-old Penangite secured a second gold medal for the Malaysian contingent in the 2018 Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang.

“To win my fifth gold medal after a sixth Asian Games – it is really special,” she said.

It was Nicol’s fifth gold medal at the Asian Games, having won the Asiad gold medal in four editions: 1998, 2006, 2010, and 2014.

She finished as the runner-up in the 2002 edition in Busan, South Korea, after losing to Rebecca Chiu of Hong Kong.

“Actually, it was not easy. It was a tough encounter with our young and inspirational players like (S.) Sivasangari. She was really firing and I had to go all out to challenge her. I’m happy it paid off with a gold medal,” said Nicol.

The world number nine was pushed to the limit by national junior player Sivasangari before prevailing in a five-set thriller, 11-13, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8 in the Asiad women’s individual squash final.

Nevertheless, Nicol was delighted to see more Malaysian junior players making their mark on the international stage, especially at the Asian Games.

“It’s been a very successful outing for our national squash team at this year’s Asian Games, winning two gold, a silver, and two bronze medals. The men’s team too had (a) good outing. They played their best squash out there; all of them fought their hearts out. I’m really proud of our team,” said Nicol.