by Martin Bronstein, Penang,
20 July 2001
© 2001 Squashtalk. Photos
© 2001 : Ho Kah Yeow for SquashTalk
DAVID WINS: NO GOLIATH
Nicole David did what everybody expected her to do all along: win the
world junior title for
a second time. She did it with an ease that surprised everybody but it
was always on the books, the talented shotmaker versus the solid all rounder
(viz: Hunt and Zaman) will often end in tears as the brilliant shots hit
the tin and the shooter wants to get out of the court as soon as legally
MAD DOGS AND SQUASH PLAYERS
Go out in the mid-day sun. The powers had us all out of bed to get a bus
at 8.30, which we all meekly did. And then sat in a stationary bus for 30
minutes while a police escort was found. After a 20 minute ride to the Sporting
Arena, we got out of the air-conditioned bus into what felt like a steam bath
crossed with a pizza oven. About an hour later, the official opening ceremony
was held with the 14 nations all marching in to this vast cavern.
There were endless speeches, in Malay
and English and two or three faintings because of the heat and humidity. At
about quarter past noon, the music and lasers assaulted the senses as the
two finalists were driven in cars to deafening roars from the 1200 spectators.
Finally the match started and it was over in 17 minutes, less time than the
introductions. Kawy served , hit a winning forehand drop to go 1-0 and then
in the course of the next five minutes and 25 seconds hit seven errors to
give a grateful David the firswt game 9-2.
BRILLIANT WINNERS AND BRILLIANT ERRORS
David played her usual pacey squash to go 5-1 up in the second which is
when Kawy had her best period, which lasted four rallies. She played three
superb winners and controlled the game to pull up to 4-5, but our hopes
of a real fight were dashed in short order as David got the service back,
Kawy hit three more errors or was unable to get to David's superb
length, and the second game was over in under eight minutes, 9-4. The
problem with Kawy - and so many shooters - is that even when their shots
are hitting tin, they never stop trying them.
KAWY OVERHEATED MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY
There is very little to write about the third game. It was 6 1/2 minutes of
squash that Kawy would like to forget It certainly was nowhere near her best
and the 9-2 scoreline might even have flattered her. She said she found it
very hot and her errors were caused less by lack of determination and more
by the heat and her nerves. Also, her team managers, beset by injury problems
were more concerned with trying to get a substitute than devising a game plan,
so Kawy never had anything to aim for.
A GREAT NEW WOMAN ATHLETE
Nicol David is wholly likeable, with no ego and no chips on her shoulder.
A well balanced and quietly intelligent young woman. When I asked her if the
pressure of winning the title for a second time, she replied: "The pressure
is there if I want to take it and if I took all the pressure, I would break
down. But I am glad that my family is here [two sisters and parents] and my
coach Richard Glenfield and they keep relaxed and focussed and remind me where
WADDYA MEAN, COACH AN 11 YEAR OLD?
Richard Glenfield is a limey unlike others. When he lives a country, he learns
their language. He's travelled and spent seven years in Spain as a coach before
getting the job as a national coach in Malaysia. (He used to work in Kuala
Lumpur with Jamie Hickox). I had supper with him and he told me that one day
he got a call telling him to move to Penang to work with an 11 year old girl.
He thought it was a demotion. He wrote letters trying to get out of it, but
decided to have a look at this slip of a girl.
One look at her playing squash and he
realised this was something special. It was of course
Nicol David and his open mindedness could put him in the same class as Rehmat
Khan (Janaghir's coach) and Neil Harvey (Peter Nicol's coach). After her win
he said he was not so much proud of her squash -which he expected - but her
acceptance speech which was mature and witty. "You don't expect that sort
of speech from one so young," he said. From one winning double to another:
next weak David will be just another member of the Malaysian team, trying
to complete another double by winning the team title in addition to the individual.
My money's on them.
Nicol David (Mal) bt Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 9-2, 9-4, 9-2 17 minutes.