KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 — Malaysia’s waterski sweetheart, Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah put up a commendable performance to finish in fourth place in the tricks events in the 2018 World Junior Waterski Championships in Madrid, Spain on Sunday.
The 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games triple gold medallist accumulated 5,790 points to secure fourth place among 12 finalists in the event.
It was a major improvement for the 15-year-old teenager, who failed to make the cut in the 2016 edition in Santiago, Chile.
Neilly Ross of Canada led from start to finish to claim the gold with 9,570 points, Kennedy Hansen of the United States took the silver with 7,750 points while Daniela Verswyvel of Colombia settled for bronze after amassing 6,120 points.
Despite failing to score a podium finish, Aaliyah was still pleased with her performance at the meet.
“I have to say that I’m pretty satisfied with my performance as I broke personal bests and records in the jump and slalom events,” said Aaliyah, who set a new national mark of 35.9m in the jump and a new Asian open record in slalom with 3.0 buoys/55kph/12m.
“It was basically the best I could have done in both those events. Tricks on the other hand didn’t go so well, but overall, I’m still happy with a fourth place finish in tricks and fifth overall,” added Aaliyah.
Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) head coach Hanifah Yoong also praised Aaliyah’s incredible performance, adding that the latter would now be focusing to improve her tricks.
“Concentrating on jump and slalom in the last 12 months took a toll on her tricks. We’ve got to get back to basics in training in the tricks.We’ll be concentrating on tricks more now whilst also balancing slalom and jump but at a slower pace,” Hanifah said.
Hanifah on behalf of MWWF also thanked the National Sports Council Malaysia (NSC) for the financial support and also the Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) for providing excellent waterski training facilities in Putrajaya.
Meanwhile Aaliyah’s two younger brothers - Aiden, 12, and Adam, 10, also displayed a creditable outing in Madrid where Aiden finished overall 25th in tricks with a score of 3,520 while Adam, the national record holder and SEA Games gold medallist, placed 17th with a score of 4,410. — Bernama