Chiu blown away by Malaysian whirlwind David

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 2006, 12:00am

The slim chance that Hong Kong ace Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin would become the first person to beat Malaysian superstar Nicol David this year was blown away in the very first seconds of the 30-minute gold medal squash final yesterday.

Chiu, looking nervous, fouled on her very first stroke of the match, when she returned David's serve out of bounds, giving an early indicator how the result would pan out.

And world number one David, who has not lost a match to anyone this year on the professional circuit, was quick to capitalise and proved too strong for Chiu as she sped to a 9-0, 9-3, 9-3 victory, to win back her Asian Games crown in the women's squash singles.

It capped off a perfect year for David, who also won the British Open and retained her World Open title.

Four years ago, Chiu achieved what many considered an impossible feat when she scored a shock victory over David at the Pusan Games. But it was payback time yesterday as the Malaysian treated the crowd at the Khalifa Stadium to a sublime display of aggression as she blasted the Hongkonger off the court.

'If I was to rate this performance out of 10, I would say it was a nine,' David said after the one-sided romp. 'I'm very pleased to finish the year with a bang. It has been a great year for me and winning a gold medal is something special as you are also playing for your country.'

This is the third time the pair have met in Asian Games finals. And Chiu, 28, who came second best at the 1998 Bangkok Games, had to settle for silver again.

'She was just too good for me, I played my best today, but it was not good enough,' Chiu said. 'But I'm happy to win a silver. That was my realistic target coming here.'

Malaysian Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi can be forgiven for once being quoted as saying that David is 'now more famous than me'. A three-time Malaysian Sportswoman of the Year (1999, 2003 and 2005), David, 23, is almost certain to get another accolade after winning her country their seventh gold medal of the games.

She was in no mood to let the occasion get to her yesterday, rushing off to the best possible start with an array of attacking shots and unbelievable retrieving, reducing Chiu to virtually that of a spectator.

'Rebecca got off to a slow start today and I took advantage of that. Towards the end I had to hunt down every shot,' added David.

The large crowd, mostly Malaysian fans, cheered vociferously as their favourite daughter proved once again that when it comes to women's squash, there is no one in the world who can touch her right now. Chiu learned that lesson, first-hand, and the hard way yesterday.