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Nicol David: I began to lose hope for Olympic inclusion

“Finally, my dream of seeing a squash player win a gold medal at the Olympics is becoming a reality.”

For two-time Commonwealth Games Champion and eight-time World Champion Nicol David, squash’s Olympic merit was obvious.

As one of the game’s most iconic figures, David was front-and-centre of a number of Olympic Inclusion campaigns, with the Malaysian championing the sport in official presentations and to the public.

However, as the pain of unsuccessful campaigns added up, David began to lose faith that the squash would ever gain the Olympic recognition it deserved.

Speaking recently to Tatler Asia, David explained: “The process [of researching squash and presenting it to the executive board of the International Olympic Committee] helped me gain confidence in the merits of our sport. At one point, I genuinely believed that we would succeed.

“However, after retiring, I began to lose hope.”

Despite the setbacks, squash would eventually break through, with the announcement that the sport would be a part of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games ratified at the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai last October.

Since that watershed moment, David has a renewed sense of optimism for the future of the sport, and the former World No.1 anticipates increased support for national federations and players, a rise in the number of tournaments, and even greater public interest in squash.

Though much of David’s day-to-day life revolves around the running of the Nicol David Organisation – a subsidised after-school programme in Malaysia in which children aged 8-12 from lower and middle income families receive squash coaching and language tutoring – she is ready to play whatever role needed to ensure squash capitalises on its Olympic momentum.

The Penang-native, who will be Malaysia’s Deputy Chef De Mission for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, explained: “I believe the next five years will be very exciting for squash. I’m looking forward to collaborating wherever I can!”

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