The Order of Merit conferred by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on national squash queen Nicol Ann David is seen as the country's HIGHEST recognition for sports.
Nicol, 24, is the FIRST recipient of the award given to Malaysians who are renowned at national and international levels.
Established on June 26, 1975, the award is limited to 10 recipients who have made significant contributions in the arts, science and humanity. The award, however, does not carry any title.
"She deserves the award. We in the SRAM (Squash Racket Association of Malaysia) are very proud of her achievement and congratulate Nicol for it.
"The SRAM hopes the award would spur Nicol to progress further in squash. The award is the country's highest recognition to Nicol for her hard work in bringing glory to the country," said SRAM deputy president Datuk Syed Mustaffa Syed Ali.
Penang-born Nicol was first introduced to the sport at the age of 5.
Her successes in the sport include recognition by the Women's International Squash Players Association (Wispa), and her latest win was the British Open title last month.
For the record, Nicol has won 27 titles in the Wispa World Tour series as of May out of the total of 79 championships which she has competed in since 2000.
She is currently competing in the Seoul Squash Open Championship in South Korea from June 2 to 7 in a bid to win her fourth title of the year.
Besides Nicol, several other athletes, former athletes and sports association officials have also been conferred awards in conjunction with the King’s birthday today.