Saturday, December 2, 2006

Nicol booster for Doha (2006 - Malaysian Today)

Nicol booster for Doha

Malaysian sports could not have received a better morale booster for the Doha Asian Games which begin today.

Nicol Ann David first proved that Malaysians can be world champions and even more underlying in feat was that it was not a flash-in-the-pan victory when she went to defend the women’s World Open squash title in Belfast earlier this week.

Make no mistake about it that it is even more difficult to defend one’s crown than to win it the first time.

The petite Nicol who hails from Penang has certainly proved that Malaysian sportsmen and women can be world beaters and do it on a consistent basis.

But Nicol’s victory was certainly not handed on a sliver platter to her. She had to work very hard with total focus and determination to achieve what she did.

She keeps her feet firm on the ground and always says that there is more for her to learn and this modesty is what makes champions.

We had sprinter Nazmizan Muhamamd win the Vietnam Sea Games gold and that was the last we have heard of him. He claims to be injured and still trains with the support of NSC, but one wonders why.

He is more comfortable writing columns trying to motivate others from his probably flash-in-the-pan victory. How else can one conclude when one victory was enough to satisfy this athlete who has already been said that he wants to hang his spikes and settle down.

It takes a lion-heart to have achieved what Nicol has done because she was always against the odds against the much better physically built and exposed players in the squash circuit.

But Nicol took the bold decision to pull her self from the comfort of home and base herself in Holland and work very hard to overcome the odds.

She uses her asset in being lighting quick on feet as compared to the more physically better built players.

The support of the Squash Racquet Association of Malaysia, the Ministry of Youth and Sports through the National Sports Council, has certainly been a great heap for Nicol.

But at the end of the day, it is Nicol who is on the courts against her opponents and the last call to be a champion or not is her decision. And time again, she has proved that she is hungry enough to want more.

Nicol dominated the junior scene with two world titles in 1999 and 2001 and now she has stamped her mark at the senior level and at 23, there is certainly more to come.

Nicol will not compete in Doha to give Malaysia one of their gold medal. She will certainly start as a favourite and there is tremendous pressure on her. But rest assured that Nicol will not forgo the gold for not want of trying.

Nicol’s victory in Belfast should certainly serve as a morale booster for the Asian Games contingent who begin their challenge to return with at least nine gold medals.

Besides Nicol, the physically challenged athletes’ performance in the 9th Fespic Games which ends today in Kuala Lumpur, should also serve as a motivation factor for the athletes in Doha.

For the Fespic Games, they had a modest target of ten gold medals but they have surpassed it target more that double with their haul of …….(pls insert final gold medal won by Malaysia).

For those who took the opportunity to witness these physically challenged athletes complete, words will not explain what they had experienced.

For those who had missed the action, it is sad because they had missed a rare opportunity can change the lives of many after watching these athletes are capable of despite their setbacks. The spirit, morale, determination is something even the normal athletes fail to show.

The difference between the physically challenged athletes and the normal athletes is that the former appreciate any form assistance given to them and want to repay the confidence placed on them with top performances, while the latter take for granted what is offered to them and feel that everyone else owes to them to support them.

Maybe, we will get an Olympic gold medal from a physically challenged athlete! Surely not something to dismiss it.

But for now, all eyes will be on the Games of the Life.

It is time for the show to begin and the athletes to perform.

A great deal of the future funding for athletes in the coming years will depend a great deal on their performance here because a great deal of money has been spent for the preparation.

It is time to reap the rewards and it is time for the athletes to stand up and be counted.

Do not give excuses that they have a flu, have peaked too early, have aches and pains or the weather is too cool for their comfort here in Doha.

It is time for the athletes to prove that they are made of sterner stuff than mash mellows!

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