By Emily Goddard

Laura Massaro has won the WSA Heather McKay Player of the Year 2013 award ©WSAMarch 27 - Laura Massaro, who this week became the first Englishwoman for 15 years to take the world squash title, has been honoured with the Heather McKay Player of the Year 2013 award.

The 30-year-old world number two received the prize at the Women's Squash Association (WSA) Awards during the World Championship in Penang, Malaysia, and said she is honoured to win the accolade.

"I won it in 2011, which was amazing at the time, but 2013 was such a fantastic year for me that it's up there as one of my best achievements to win this award for the second time," said Massaro after being handed the award by Australia's Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the former world number one and a five-time world champion.

"It was fantastic to be presented with the award by Sarah, who is a legend of the game and also a friend.

"A special moment."

The presentation ceremony also saw Malaysia's Nicol David, who has held the world number one spot since August 2006, receive a special WSA Platinum Service award.

She said she was "truly honoured" to be recognised by the sport's world governing body.

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give back to women's squash, I hope to do more in future to represent our women's tour," David added.

Nicol David received a special WSA Platinum Service award in her home nation ©Getty Images for LaureusNicol David received a special WSA Platinum Service award in her home nation
©Getty Images for Laureus

Massaro's compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry received the WSA Breakthrough Player of the Year award after leaping from 29 to 14 in the world rankings last year, while Australia's Lisa Camilleri won the Vicki Cardwell Comeback Player of the Year award after returning to competition following a 17-month absence due to a chronic foot injury.

"It is so nice to be recognised for such a hard slog back it's been," the 31-year-old former world number 28 said.

"A huge thank you to everyone who has helped me come back - my physio, doctors, coaches, family and friends.

"I was so surprised but very happy to receive the WSA award.

"I knew I had a good year in 2013 - but so did a lot of other people, so I wasn't expecting to win the award at all."

The WSA Sportsmanship Award was presented to Guyana's world number 20 Nicolette Fernandes - who said she felt humbled by the prize, while the Delaware Investments US Open won the Tournament of the Year title - which was collected on its behalf by WSA President Kasey Brown - for being the first major event to offer equal prize money to both women and men.

"We're really pleased to receive the recognition for this award," US Squash chief executive Kevin Klipstein said.

"It's also a top priority for us to promote opportunities for girls and women to play squash.

"Offering equal prize money is one way we are able to help more female squash players compete at the highest level and to their full potential.

"We hope this move puts the appropriate pressure on other major events to do the same."

The winners were chosen by an independent expert panel made up of journalists, former players and squash experts, with the exception of the Tournament of the Year, which was voted for by the players.

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