Nicol wants to see more national women's players break into Top 15

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash legend Datuk Nicol David expressed her hope to see more national women's players to follow in S. Sivasangari's footsteps by reaching the top 15 of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Rankings in the near future.

The former world number one said the national squad is blessed with a robust depth in the women's department with the likes of Rachel Arnold and Aifa Azman, who have the potential to be up there with Sivasangari.

"With the ranking on paper, Sivasangari did really well in past tournaments but others are coming like Aifa and Rachel.

"All these girls are pushing each other…They are fighting as to who wants to be number one or two for Malaysia and that's what competition is all about, to push level up higher. Fingers crossed we'll get more up there (top 15)," she told reporters here, today.

Nicol was met after receiving a personal contribution from corporate figure, Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din, to her foundation, Nicol David Organisation (NDO).

The eight-time world champion also stressed the importance of sustaining consistency among these players, emphasising the need for frequent entries into the round of 16 in tournaments and and play more against top 15 players in a bid to enhance their ranking.

"Tournaments that they had currently are the ones that will help them. If they play against top 10 or 15 players and feel comfortable as well as starting to beat them more consistently, that's where they will make a breakthrough and how rankings works," she added.

Recently, Sivasangari, who is also the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games champion, moved up to two spots in PSA World Rankings (Nov 27) to number 15 and eclipsed her best position at number 16 in July 2022.

It was extraordinary feat by the 24-year-old athlete after a career-threatening car crash last year which saw her miss out action for almost eight months before making a return in the Ivy Squash League in New York, last January.

Sivasangari's world ranking even slipped further down to number 50 in June this year, her lowest since 2017 (ranked 61st).

As for Rachel, she is currently ranked in 27th place while Aifa came in 31st spot in the current PSA World Rankings. – BERNAMA

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