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23 Jul 2024

Willstrop & David In Unique World Squash Awards Double

23 Oct 2008

Prince stars James Willstrop and Nicol David scored a unique double at the 2008 World Squash Awards this month by winning the men's and women's Player of the Year awards, respectively, in the Great Hall in the historic Town Hall in Manchester.

The annual World Squash Awards took place in the English city before a star-studded gathering of VIPS, players and officials from the sport during the World Squash Championships - the first joint staging of the Men's and Women's World Opens in the UK - in Manchester.

It was the fourth staging of the World Squash Awards by Eventis Sports Marketing, the company run by Prince Squash Ambassador Peter Nicol, MBE, and fellow directors Tim Garner and Angus Kirkland.

Willstrop shook off Egyptian rivals Amr Shabana, the world number one, and Ramy Ashour, the world champion, to win the PSA Player of the Year Award for the first time.

"It means a great deal to be recognised by such a distinguished group of people, and at such an event," said the world No3 from England who has reached eight PSA Tour finals and won five titles since signing to Prince.

"And it's quite nice to get one over on Ramy and Shabs!" added the British National champion who switched to the Prince O3 Speedport Black at the beginning of the year.

Nicol David's dominance in the world of women's squash was overwhelming endorsed when she won the WISPA Player of the Year Award - for the fourth year in a row!

The 25-year-old world number one from the Malaysia received the award from fellow countryman HRH Prince Tunku Imran, a prime mover in Squash making its debut in the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

"Thanks to everybody," said Nicol after receiving the award. "Having Squash in the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia really sparked things off for me - and I'm grateful for the great support I've had all the way."

Nicol David's racquet choice is the Prince O3 Speedport Black - and she is undefeated since taking up the new racquet in April.

Since joining the brand in 2005, David has established a remarkable record - reaching the finals in all but two of the 31 WISPA World Tour events in which she has competed, and taking the titles in 25.

"I was delighted to see Nicol David and James Willstrop receive the Women's and Men's Player of the Year Awards at the World Squash Awards in Manchester at the weekend," said Peter Nicol. "As the Awards organiser, I was delighted that both WISPA and PSA chose Prince players to receive these awards.

"For Nicol, it has gone on a year's unbeaten run and she is now World Champion again. James had a wonderful start to 2008 with five straight tournament wins and after struggling with a niggling injury recently is now back to full fitness and looking to win the final few events of the year.

"Both players are only in their mid twenties and the future certainly looks bright for Prince at the very highest level of the game," added the Prince Global Tour Manager.

There was further Prince success at the Manchester World Awards when Hong Kong's Annie Au won the WISPA Young Player of the Year Award. "I'm very happy to get this award," said the 19-year-old who uses the Prince O3 Hybrid Vendetta racquet.

Annie Au, the 2007 Asian Junior champion who was the only qualifier to reach the last 16 of the World Open, has already picked up four WISPA Tour titles - three of which since July!