• Badminton: Chong Wei in the dumps after losing World No 1 status
  • Bodybuilding: Sazali Samad sets world record as 10-time Mr Universe
  • Squash: Nicol David all time great as 8-time world champ

 The world has been at their feet for three of Malaysia’s top sports personalities – shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei, squash player Datuk Nicol David and bodybuilder Sazali Samad.

However, the trio say goodbye to 2014 in different ways with Nicol and Sazali at the pinnacle of their career and setting world marks in their respective sports.

Nicol – the squash queen from Penang was crowned the world champion for an unprecedented eighth time shed tears of joy when she defeated Egypt’s rising star Raneem el Weleily in Cairo for the title.

Her achievement means Nicol – the most famous s squash face in the world – remains as World No 1 for 100 months – a feat that is not likely to be broken in time to come

Muscleman Sazali from Batu Pahat, Johor muscled his way to his 10th Mr Universe in the 75kg category in the Mr Universe Bodybuilding Championships Mumbai, India and in the process set a world record.

And the police officer has no plans of slowing down and is instead gunning for his 11th Mr Universe title. Age is not a barrier for the unassuming 47-year-old police officer.

His journey began in Malacca in 2000 when he won his first Mr Universe title (65kg category) and there has been no stopping for Sazali since then. He repeated his feat in Moscow (2004), Ostrava, Czech Republic (2006), Jeju, South Korea (2007), Dubai (2009), Varanasi, India (2010), Malacca (2011), Bangkok (2012) and Budaors, Hungary (2013).

The father of five won the Mr Universe titles in three categories – 65kg, 70kg and 75kg.

Sazali is also a nine-time Mr Asia – winning it in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Putting Nicol and Sazali aside, it is a year Datuk Lee Chong Wei would rather like to forget 2014 and keep his fingers crossed that 2015 will change his fortunes for the better.

The Penangite’s badminton career is uncertain with a suspension looming over his head for an alleged anti-doping regulation violation. While serving a provisional suspension Chong Wei has lost his status as World No 1 which he held for six years from 2008.

The latest Badminton World Federation’s ranking list shows China’s reigning world champion Chen Long, who won the season-ending BWF World Superseries Finals in Dubai last week, as the new world number one.

The Chinese ace has collected 90,001 ranking points from 12 tournaments while Chong Wei, who has been grounded since competing in the world championships in Copenhagen, slipped a rung with 84,631 points from nine tournaments.

BWF Ranking Points

(Men’s singles)

  1. Chen Long (China) 90.0001 points 12 tournaments
  2. Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) 84, 631 points 9 tournaments
  3. Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark) 71, 003 points 15 tournaments
  4. K. Srikanth (India) 62,787 points 17 tournaments
  5. Son Wan Ho (S.Korea) 62,522 points 18 tournaments
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