Nicol David is the best female athlete Malaysia has ever seen and by far the best squash player the game has ever witnessed.
It is for these reasons that she was honoured by the Malaysian government in more than one way.In 2008 she was honoured with the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri Award (DSPN), which carries the title ‘Dato’. She was recognized as the youngest person ever to be conferred Datukship in Penang. As a comparison, Dato’ is the equivalent of the English title Dame. Nicol was also honoured with the Order of Merit (Darjah Bakti), an award that is limited to 10 recipients who have made significant contributions in the arts, sciences and the humanities (2008)
Born in Penang, David is the daughter of Ann Marie David, a retired Malaysian Chinese school teacher of Hokkien-Hakka descent and Desmond David, a Malaysian Indian engineer of Tamil-Malayali origins, who is also a former state athlete and footballer. She has two sisters, Lianne and Cheryl, both of whom are accomplished squash players at the national level. As a youngster, mathematics was David’s best subject at school; she dreamed of one day becoming an engineer. Her primary education was at Sekolah Kebangsaan Convent Green Lane (Convent Green Lane Primary School). David scored seven A’s for her Penilaian Menengah Rendah and obtained seven A’s in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (the equivalent to GCSE), which she studied at Convent Green Lane Secondary School in Green Lane, Penang. She was raised a Roman Catholic.
Awards and recognition
On 7 June 2008, David was honoured with the Order of Merit (Darjah Bakti) or D.B. in conjunction with the birthday of His Majesty Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin. She was the first recipient of the award which was established on 26 June 1975. The award is limited to 10 recipients who have made significant contributions in the arts, sciences and the humanities.
On 12 July 2008, David was among 497 people honoured in conjunction with the 70th birthday of the Penang State Governor Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas. David was also one of the 28 people who received the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri award (DSPN), which carries the title Datuk, making her the youngest person ever to be conferred Datukship in Penang. The former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, a fellow Penangite, once quipped that David is “now more famous than me”. In July 2007, David received Master of Arts honoris causa; an honorary degree by the University of Nottingham. David has also obtained the WISPA Player of the Year on six consecutive occasions, from 2005 until 2010.
David was given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch for Malaysia during the build up to the Athens Olympics of 2004, and was appointed UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Malaysia.