NATIONAL WATER SKIERS UNDERLINE POTENTIAL WITH FOUR GOLDS
September 01, 2017
The four-gold haul highlights just how much potential Malaysia has in water ski.
Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah is the golden girl of water ski.
She broke into the limelight six years ago – aged eight – by winning the tricks event to become Malaysia’s youngest ever SEA Games gold medallist.
But even Aaliyah, now 14, could not have imagined herself finishing with three golds and a silver.
She had the worst possible start, coming down with high fever just two days before competition started.
Despite being half-fit and posting rather average scores, it was still more than enough for her to blow her rivals away for the women’s overall gold.
That set the pace for her as she slalomed to a silver and also easily took home gold in tricks.
The best surprise came in jump, where she turned the tables on defending champion Rossi Amir of Indonesia with a 32.6m effort.
She even broke older sister Phillipa Yoong’s 23-year national record (32.2m) with a jump of 32.8m during the preliminary round.
Aaliyah now has a year to prepare for the World Junior Water Ski Championships in Spain next August.
“For me the SEA Games is my last tournament for the year. The season is over for me. I’m looking to relax a bit,” said Aaliyah.
“My target next year will be the world juniors. I’m definitely hoping to do well there.”
Aaliyah is not the only star from the Hanifah family.
Nine-year-old brother Adam was equally dazzling as he put up a cool and composed display that belied his age to take the men’s tricks gold.
“I’m really proud of my skiers. They were under a lot of pressure but showed really good attitude, especially Adam,” said Malaysia Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) head coach Hanifah Yoong.
“He’s just a cool kid who doesn’t think too much. He knows he just needs to do his best when he goes out there.
August 31, 2017
Water skiing is the sport of choice in the Hanifah Yoong household.
It’s not surprising then to see the youngest member of the family – nine-year-old Adam Yoong Hanifah – keep the proud tradition going by claiming a completely unexpected SEA Games gold in the men’s tricks.
Defending champion Febrianto Kadir of Indonesia ruled himself out of contention for the gold with two falls to finish with 3,140 points at the Putrajaya Lake yesterday.
Another strong contender from Indonesia – 16-year-old Dimas Ridho Suprihono – also put up a shaky performance for only 3,440 points.
Up stepped Adam. The nine-year-old performed like a pro on both runs to finish with a 3,860-point total.
Adam’s brother – 11-year-old Aiden, who was the overnight leader after posting 3,900 in the preliminary round – then had the chance to win the gold.
Unfortunately for Aiden, the pressure got to him and he fell on both his passes to earn only 2,790 points. That handed the gold to Adam.
Dimas took the silver and Febrianto the bronze.
The win makes Adam the youngest gold medallist in the 29th edition of the Games.
Older sister Aaliyah, however, holds the record for the youngest-ever Malaysian gold medallist, having won the tricks gold in 2011 aged eight.
Adam, who celebrated by running straight to his schoolmates in the crowd, was delighted to be standing on top of the podium.
“I’m really happy right now.
“This is my first gold in the SEA Games,” said an excited Adam.
“I wasn’t thinking about beating anyone’s scores today. I just went out there hoping to do my best.
“So I’m surprised and really happy to find out that I’ve won after it ended.”
Adam’s surprise gold means Malaysia finished with a 4-1-2 haul – a step up from the 2-2-3 finish in Singapore two years ago.
Malaysia’s best finish was a 4-3-1 haul at the 2011 Palembang Games.
RIGHT TONIC FOR TALENTED YOUNGSTERS
May 23, 2017
The six-week training stint in Florida is paying off handsomely for the Malaysian waterski team.
The young SEA Games team, under the Kita Juara programme, have been training extensively at the Cory Pickos ski site since April.
The rewards came through a flurry of record-smashing performances at the Florida Inboards Open at the Santa Rosa Beach in the United States.
First off was nine-year-old Adam Yoong Hanifah, who broke elder half-brother Alex Yoong’s 24-year national record in tricks.
Eleven-year-old Aiden Yoong Hanifah was expected to smash the 3,830 record set by Alex, then 17, during the 1993 Malaysian Open.
Instead it was the youngest sibling Adam, who surprised by scoring 3,920 to finish first in the Under-13 category.
Aiden, who had one trick disallowed because of poor execution, settled for a new personal best of 3,780 and second place in the same category.
However, Aiden did grab a record by posting a score of 4.5buoys/18.25m rope/55kph to set a new national Under-17 record in slalom.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Syahir Nasir also had a memorable weekend as he broke the national slalom record twice in a day.
Syahir, who came close to breaking Alex’s 23-year record of 3/13/58 on the first day, got the job done a day later by scoring 3.5/13/58 in round two.
Not satisfied, Syahir went back in round three and improved his own record with an astonishing 1/12/58 score.
Syahir’s score is within range of a SEA Games gold with the 2015 gold medal mark being 3/12/58.
In the women’s event, 13-year-old Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah continued to fly high with top-notch results in jump and slalom.
Aaliyah, a two-time SEA Games gold medalist, soared to a new personal best in jump with 32.3m.
It was just 0.2m shy of Phillipa Yoong’s national record set in 1994, and has comfortably beaten the 2015 SEA Games gold medal mark of 29m.
Aaliyah went on to score 0.5/12/55 in slalom to finish fourth in the Under-17 category.
However, it was a brand new national record and an Asian Under-17 record. More importantly, it bettered Singapore’s Sasha Christian gold medal mark of 3/13/55 at the 2015 SEA Games.
With Aaliyah already well assured of winning gold in tricks and overall, her jump and slalom performances would have put her in strong contention for a four-gold haul when the Games starts in August.
“We are heartened to see the improvements by the Kita Juara athletes in the six-week camp in Florida,” said Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) head coach Hanifah Yoong.
“These improvements are massive even by our expectations and we are grateful to the National Sports Council (NSC) for supporting waterski in the SEA Games.”
AALIYAH SERVES UP A BRONZE TREAT IN TRICKS
March 15, 2017
Young water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah has impressed with another strong outing – this time at the Moomba Masters in Melbourne, Australia.
The 13-year-old claimed a bronze medal in the tricks event of the Junior Moomba (Under-17 event) on the Yarra River over the weekend.
She nearly made the six-skier final in the Open category before eventually settling for seventh spot.
Aaliyah has enjoyed a strong start to the year, having won two gold medals and a new personal best of 7,600 points in tricks at the Asia-Oceania Waterski and Wakeboard Championships in New Zealand last month.
At the Moomba invitational meet, Aaliyah started strongly to score 6,570 points for a third placing in the junior category.
It’s her third medal at the Junior Moomba. She was a silver medalist in 2014 and 2015.
But the bronze is worth its weight in gold as she was up against a world-class field this time.
Reigning world champion Anna Gay of the United States won with a total score of 10,220 points while world meet runner-up Neilly Ross of Canada was second with 8,450.
“I was rather relaxed for the runs in both rounds. Our strategy was for me to just stand up in all my passes and not chase the extra points on the Yarra … it worked out well,” said Aaliyah.
In the Open category, Aaliyah scored 6,910 points in the first round to be placed seventh and qualify for the eight-skier semi-finals.
But Aaliyah, who won two gold medals at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, took a tumble towards the end of the semi-finals and finished with 5,510 points for a seventh placing.
Only the top six made the final.
Sixteen-year-old Ross (9,920pts) won the Open category, followed the United States’ former world champion Erika Lang (9,670) and Belarus’ Natallia Berdnikava (8,730).
“I did pretty well in the Open category by scoring 6,910 points in the first round despite falling on my last trick,” said Aaliyah.
“I’m a bit disappointed with my semi-final performance. Anyway, it’s good for me to have some failures. I was up against some world-level skiers and I know I still have many more years ahead of me to get onto the podium.”
AALIYAH BAGS GOLD AND ASIAN RECORD IN COMBINED CATEGORY
February 05, 2017
Teenage water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah is making waves again – this time in the Asia-Oceania Waterski and Wakeboard Championships in New Zealand.
Not only did the 13-year-old win two gold medals, she also broke the Asian record in the Open women’s tricks final.
She registered a new personal best score of 7,600 points in the final at Lake Kereta, Auckland, yesterday to become the first Asian to bag the gold medal in the combined Asia-Oceania category since the tournament’s inception 40 years ago.
Australian Katelyn Miller (6,260pts) took silver and Kiwi Georgia O’Connell (4,170pts) the bronze.
The day was made even sweeter for Aaliyah when her 7,600 points saw her grabbing the gold in the Asian category with a new record. It erased her own previous mark of 6,810.
Two Japanese – Saaya Hirosawa (3,620pts) and Kazumi Inoue (3,370pts) took silver and bronze in the Asian category.
This win proves that Aaliyah has learned her lesson after starting the year by missing the cut for the final of the World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile, last month.
Then, the Singapore SEA Games double gold medalist took an early fall and only scored 2,560 to finish in 35th spot.
“My failure in Chile was definitely a bummer, but I’ve learned to be more relaxed. I’m back on track in the tricks here,” said Aaliyah
“I didn’t do too well in the slalom preliminaries here … didn’t make the final, but I more than made up for it with my results in tricks.
“I also managed a new personal best in jump (27.9m) and that’s great because I haven’t made any new marks in a while.”
Aaliyah’s 11-year-old brother Aiden also did well by grabbing silver in the Under-17 category of the Asian Championships.
Aiden scored 2,720 points to finish behind Indonesia’s Dimas Ridho Suprihono (3,180pts).
Nine-year-old Adam, the youngest of the Hanifah siblings, just missed out on a medal after scoring 2,230 points to finish fourth behind South Korea’s Ju Seong-min (2,560pts).
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