March 10, 2020

MALAYSIAN teen Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah made history by becoming the first Asian waterskier to win a Moomba Masters title in 60 years. The 16-year-old won her first-ever top-of-podium spot in the junior girls tricks of the famous pro waterski event, after having mounted the podium twice, in second and third placing, in past years. She scored 6,900 points, finishing on top of the leaderboard with Australian duo Sade Ferguson (5,770) and Tayla Simmonds (5,710) in second and third place, respectively.

It is a first-ever winner’s trophy for Aaliyah since making her debut in the Moomba in 2013 when she was nine years old. In jump, Aaliyah also bagged a first-ever trophy after she came in second with an effort of 36.5m to finish second. Ferguson eventually won the event with a score of 40.1m, while American Alyssa Drake came in third with 33.3m.

Aaliyah also finished strongly in slalom, placing fifth with a run of 1.5/55/12 despite being seeded eighth. Those three events combined gave her a total of 2,716.25 for a second-place finish in the overall event, just behind Ferguson who tallied 2,836.23 while Australia’s Layne Moroney came in third with 1,948.51. It was certainly mission accomplished for Aaliyah despite the inclement weather as she improved on her two silver trophies from 2019. “I’m thrilled to have finished with one win and two seconds and I’m definitely looking forward to the open category which continues this weekend through to Monday,” said Aaliyah.

Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) head coach Hanifah Yoong was also pleased with Aaliyah’s achievements. “She managed to achieve all her objectives. “It’s a first top of the podium for her here and a first jump trophy while also taking her second overall trophy by coming in second. On top of that, she will also move up the overall ranking and this will also ensure she will start in series 1 in the August 2020 Junior World Championship in Florida for all disciplines,” said Hanifah.



September 30, 2019

Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah has crowned herself as the queen of waterski in Asia after she swept all four women’s gold medals at the Asian Waterski and Wakeboard Championships in Bangkok.

The 16-year-old was unstoppable as she skied her way to the slalom, jump and overall golds at the TE Wake N Ski in Bang Sai yesterday.

On Saturday, she took the gold in the tricks final.

By sweeping all four events, she etched herself into the history books as the first woman to achieve the feat.

In the slalom final yesterday, Aaliyah scored 4/55/13 ahead of second-placed Thai Weeraya Rosendahl’s 3/55/13.

South Korean Han Ah-reum finished third with 2.50/55/13.

It was more challenging in the jump final as she overcame a rough start before completing a jump of 37.8m to bag the gold, just enough to edge her Japanese opponents Harue Kamiya (37.5m) and Moe Sadamizu (36.6m).

By finishing top in all three finals, Aaliyah automatically took the overall gold to make it four.

“It’s a dream come true for me, because I have never won more than a medal here before and to come here and sweep everything is really special, ” said Aaliyah.

“I’m super happy with my achievement here especially in the jump because it was really touch and go but overall, I’m satisfied with my performance throughout.”



September 28, 2019

Malaysian waterski darling Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah is on course for a clean sweep of four gold medals at the Asian Waterski and Wakesport Championships.

The 16-year-old has qualified for the tricks, slalom and jump finals in spectacular fashion after finishing tops in the preliminary rounds of all the three events at the TE Wake N Ski in Bang Sai just outside of Bangkok, Thailand over the last two days. If she can maintain the same form in all three events, she is a shoo-in to bag the overall title as well.

Aaliyah gets into action in the tricks final today and slalom and jump finals tomorrow. Her previous record was 7,440 points en route to finishing ninth in the final of the World Waterski Championships in Putrajaya last month to become the first Asian to compete in the final.

In the slalom preliminaries, she set a pace of 2/55/12 to break the long-standing 18-year Asian Championship record. The previous mark was a 5/55/13 that was set by South Korea’s Kim Key-young back in 2001. In the jump, she impressed with a score of 36.9m on Thursday.

“It’s definitely the start that I expected. My goal in the preliminaries was to try and get a new personal best so I’m glad to get that down early, ” said Aaliyah. “It’s been hard to stay consistent by doing over 7,000 points for the past two years but I’m with that development.” If her form at the world meet last month is to be a yardstick for the Asian meet, Aaliyah is likely to take home all four gold medals.

The teenage prodigy bagged the Best Asian category awards in all four events – tricks, slalom, jump and overall – in Putrajaya. Meanwhile Aaliyah’s younger brothers Aiden and Adam bagged home medals in the junior Under-17 events. The 13-year-old Aiden won the Under-17 tricks gold medal and overall bronze while 11-year-old Adam grabbed the bronze in the Under-17 tricks event on Wednesday.



August 19, 2019

PUTRAJAYA: Aaliyah Yoong ended her maiden appearance in the World Waterski Championships in style by lowering her own Asian record en route to a respectable top 10 finish in the women’s tricks final in Putrajaya.

The ever-smiling Aaliyah fell at the end of her routine but it was good enough to see her finish ninth, earning 7, 440 points on her scorecard to better the Asian record of 7, 320 points she set in the preliminaries on Friday.

The 16-year-old, who has been tipped as a huge talent for the future in the discipline, said she could not have asked for more in the final featuring the top 12 skiers in the world.

“I’m really happy with my performance today (yesterday) although I fell and did not get my last two tricks in, ” said Aaliyah. “For me to exceed 7, 000 points twice in a row is amazing and I hope to be more consistent in the future. I actually felt more nervous in the preliminaries because it was my first time on the water for the tricks event here and I really wanted to make the final. I also had a bit of an advantage here because this is my home ground. I’ve been here for 11 years, so I know how it is, ” said Aaliyah, who also finished 10th in the women’s overall category with a score of 1, 984.63 points.

Aaliyah, who is only ranked 35th in the world, is hoping to improve in all three disciplines – tricks, slalom, jump – and possibly challenge for a podium position at the world meet in the near future.

“Tricks is my main event but I want to be a good skier overall. I actually like doing all three disciplines. I’m still quite far from a podium position at the moment. I still have a few more steps to go but hopefully, it will be achievable in the near future.”

Anna Gay reclaimed the gold medal she last won in 2015 for United States in women’s tricks after putting up a huge score of 10, 530 points. The Silver went to Peru’s Natalia Cuglievan, who scored 9, 570 while Germany’s Giannina Bonnemann took the bronze with 8, 740 points.

The 2013 winner Erika Lang, the world record holder from United States, fell in both her passes to finish with a score of 3, 710 points in 12th spot while 2017 winner Neilly Ross of Canada suffered a big tumble on her second pass to finish with only 5, 840 points in 11th spot. Canada’s Whitney McClintock-Rini grabbed the overall gold with a score of 2, 569.21 points, dethroning three-time overall champion Regina Jaquess of US in the process.

The Silver went to Belarus skier Hanna Straltsova (2, 465.71) and American Brooke Baldwin took the bronze (2, 448.92).



August 09, 2019

PUTRAJAYA – The IWWF Waterski World Championships that is due to start from Aug 13-18 in Putrajaya promises a lot of thrilling excitement on the water. Action on the water aside, the Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) is also going the extra mile to ensure that spectators and participants will enjoy a full package of entertainment at the Putrajaya Lake.

That is because a carnival – ‘Adventure Carnival’ – with food, live entertainment and fun for the whole family is being organised at the Water Sport Complex, Precinct 6 from Aug 15-18 that is in conjunction with the world meet. With the water sport complex located just right next to the grand stands of the competition, it will be the perfect opportunity for families to jump into the fun whilst enjoying the world-level water skiing. 

Apart from the various food and merchandise booths, a host of local celebrities such as Anne Abdullah, Zarina Zainuddin, Aidil Aziz  and Zakiah Anas will also be making special appearances. There will also be live musical performances by Ayu

Damit, Shidi Data and Fredo Flybaits among others while clowns, stilt walkers and magicians will be making their rounds entertaining children. An inflatable park and petting zoo will also be made available for younger children and there are games with prizes worth up RM12,000 are certain to keep the entire family entertained. “The objective of the carnival is to encourage the public to come in droves to support our national team and the waterski sport in whole and at the same time to take this opportunity to indulge in the moment of food, fun, and excitement,” said MWWF vice president Alex Yoong.

The Malaysian team will be spearheaded by Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah and her two younger brothers – Aiden Yoong Hanifah and Adam Yoong Hanifah. The fourth member of the team is Nadiah Nasir. A host of world class skiers have already confirmed their participation in this world meet with the likes of world champions Adam Pickos, Freddy Krueger and Regina Jacques from the United States among the star attractions. Other top skiers in the mix includes Canada’s Ryan Dodd, Neilly Ross, Belarus’ Aliaksei Zharnasek and Australia’s Jacinta Carroll. The world meet is hosted and supported by the Putrajaya Corporation, the Malaysia Convention  & Exhibition Bureau, an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Nautique Boats USA.

The Adventure Carnival on the other hand is jointly organised by the Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup Sdn Bhd and AEM Adventure Events & Management PLT. Admission is free for all spectators with the preliminary rounds to start from Tuesday, Aug 13 to Friday, Aug 16. The finals will be held on the Aug 17-18 weekend.


August 01, 2019

With less than two weeks to go before the start of the IWWF Waterski World Championship at Putrajaya, the final touches are being done to ensure the venue is brought up to world-level skiing condition.

The Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF), in collaboration with Putrajaya Corporation (PPJ), have spent the last four weeks upgrading the ski site to ensure that skiers for the world meet from Aug 13-19 will have a smoother experience on the water.

The Putrajaya Lake is arguably one of the best ski sites in the world in terms of infrastructure. The only setback, if any, is that the water condition there is not the best as the water tends to get rough and choppy from the winds, and also due to the backwash coming back to the ski course after each pass of the tow boat at the stadium site.

In order to minimise backwash, the MWWF, with the assistance of Putrajaya Corporation, have installed two significant upgrades at the ski site. The first is the laying of rocks along the shoreline of the stadium. This is to help boat wakes arriving on the shores have the energy removed and not come back into the ski course when the competition gets underway. 

The second is the installation of a windbreaker system. It is made of hard wood in 34 segments linked together for a total of 150m long for the far end of the 350m long slalom course that is exposed to winds from east of the open area. The windbreaker system floats just above the water level of the lake and “kills” the waves created from the wind from crossing into the ski course.

This is the second major upgrade on the site which was improved once by implementing a backwash system on the vertical walls of the Marina Putrajaya during the 2017 Sea Games. The IWWF representative, Larry Gisler, who will be the assistant chief judge for the World Championships, said the upgrades have certainly improved the Putrajaya waterski venue. “I’ve been coming to Malaysia every year since 2008 and we have done a lot of upgrades for the Sea Games and now this world meet,” said the Chilean who has also served to develop Malaysian waterski and is coaching the Malaysian team prior to the start of the World Championships. “The water becomes rough from wind conditions and backwash, so the rocks are in place to ensure that when the waves hit it, it stays there. This will make the surface of the water more calm. Right now we certainly have the best condition for the championships. I would say the site is now world record condition and it would be nice to see some world records broken in two weeks time,” he said.

Leading Malaysian waterskier, Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah gave her thumbs up at the upgrades done on the site. “The ski site has definitely improved over the years. With the rocks and the windbreakers, there are now less rollers and the water is not as choppy as before,” said Aaliyah. “Training-wise, I’ve been doing better since Larry got here. I think this will be a good tournament for the world’s top waterski athletes and I am certainly excited to set some new Malaysian records and maybe even get an Asian record or two.”

The 2019 IWWF Waterski World Championship is hosted by Putrajaya Corporation, and supported by Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Nautique Boats USA.

The New Straits Times is the official paper of the IWWF Waterski World Championship.


June 11, 2019

PUTRAJAYA – Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah has come so far in the world of waterski since bursting onto the scene in 2011.

As a pre-teen, she has already demonstrated huge amounts of potential when she won the SEA Games gold medal for tricks at the age of 8.

It would be the first of her many major victories and it certainly set her down the path in professional water skiing.

In the eight years since, Aaliyah has accumulated a lot of achievements, including becoming an Asian Oceanian champion in 2014 and is also a 9-time Asian champion not only in her pet event of tricks but now also in jump and overall.

Now 15-years-old, Aaliyah is slowly but surely moving up on the world stage and there is no better platform to show what’s she’s made of at the 2019 IWWF World Waterski Championships for the open category that will be held on home ground in Putrajaya from August 13-19.

The teenager can certainly draw on past experience as she looks to make a good impression against the world’s best skiers.

In fact, Aaliyah is already quite a ‘veteran’ in competing at the world meet.

She made her debut at the World Championships in Dubna, Russia in 2011 and also competed in the 2013 edition that was held in Santiago, Chile.

She achieved her best result at the open world meet at her third attempt – the 2015 edition that was held in Guadalajara, Mexico where she came in 24th in tricks, when still only 13 years old, against a top level field of adult open skiers.

Aaliyah gave the 2017 edition a miss in order to concentrate on the SEA Games that Malaysia hosted as she also honing her skills as three-event skier.

But she’s more prepared than ever to put up a strong showing in August, which would be her fourth world meet.

With a personal best of 7,600 points, achieved in 2017, Aaliyah is more than capable of finishing in the top 20 or better for the first time.

In fact that is also her goal as she is also currently ranked No. 20 in the world with an average score of 6,880, becoming the first ever Malaysian woman to scale such heights. 

It won’t be an easy task as the best skiers in the world such as Americans Erika Lang and Anna Gay as well reigning world champion Neilly Ross of Canada are all expected to make the trip to Malaysia.

Aaliyah will however draw confidence from the fact that she’s been putting up a good showing of late in tricks, judging by her run at the Junior Moomba in March.

Then she put up a score of 7,230 to take the silver behind Ross and it will surely serve in good stead for the worlds in August.


March 09, 2019

Teenage water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah put up a strong showing in tricks to earn her best ever showing to date with two medals at the Junior Moomba in Melbourne.

The 15-year-old skier bounced back strongly following two falls at the Oceania Waterski Championships in Latrobe last week to post up a score of 7,230 points at the Yarra River on Thursday.

It was not too far off her personal best mark of 7,600 and she settled for silver behind world tricks champion, top seed and favourite Neilly Ross of Canada, who ranked in 8,790 points. Chile’s Josefa Gonzalez finished third with 4,880 points.

The silver medal finish also means Aaliyah equaled her efforts from 2014 and 2015. Both times she took home the silver in tricks as well. But this year, Aaliyah will certainly be pleased with herself knowing that she will return with at least two medals. This is because she also settled for silver in the overall event, with a total of 2,668.74 points. Australia’s junior world championship Sade Ferguson won the overall gold courtesy of also winning the slalom and jump events for an overall total of 2,677.73 points.

It was a close miss for Aaliyah and she will certainly rue her chances of finishing on top of the podium at the Moomba event for the first time since her debut in 2013. Unfortunately, she only managed an eighth placed finish in slalom with 5.5/55.14.25 and narrowly missed out on finishing third in jump after producing a distance of 35m. Ferguson took the jump gold with a 40m distance while New Zealand’s Lily Meade was second with 38m. A second Aussie – Molly Ferguson, who is Sade’s older sister was third with a 36.7m. If Aaliyah had made the podium in the jump, she would have beaten Sade to the overall gold medal. Nevertheless, it is still an excellent result for Aaliyah who is surely on track to challenge for a podium finish at the World Junior Championships in 2020.

“I am very happy that I am able to match the jump world junior champion Sade in overall as she is the favourite for the world junior title in 2020. That is the yardstick I am aiming for,” said Aaliyah. Losing gold in overall to Sade by a mere few points shows that I am certainly able to challenge for the overall world junior title next year.”

Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) head coach Hanifah Yoong added that Aaliyah has come within striking distance of Sade and Kennedy Hansen of the US, who are the top two junior skiers in the world right now. “She showed at the Junior Moomba that she is not only a contender for the world junior tricks title but also in overall,” said Hanifah who is also Aaliyah’s father. She has certainly come a long way in progressing in both jump and slalom in addition to her tricks discipline. She is expected to be ranked No. 3 in overall behind Kennedy and Sade at the 2020 world juniors so she has to stay within striking distance for all three disciplines of jump, slalom and tricks. As for tricks, she is already No. 2 behind Kennedy so she certainly stands a chance at the world junior title next year.”

Aaliyah, who is a student with the Nexus International School will now take a break in order to focus for her IGCSE exams in May. She will return to intensive training after May and her next major event will be the Waterski World Championships that is held in Putrajaya in August 2019. 

Aaliyah’s participation in the Nautique Moomba Masters is supported by the National Sports Council of Malaysia, Putrajaya Corporation, Nautique Boats and D3 Skis of USA.


March 04, 2019

MELBOURNE – Siblings Aaliyah and Aiden Yoong Hanifah are off to a smashing start to the 2019 calendar after podium finishes at the Oceania Waterski Championships.

The 15-year-old Aaliyah continued to make her mark as three-event skier as she finished with one win and two seconds at Latrobe, 2 hours from Melbourne on Sunday.

The triple gold medalist from the 2017 KL SEA Games snatched a win in her pet event – tricks despite falling way off her personal best score 7,600 points.

Aaliyah, who was trying to incorporate new tricks into her run, posted up a score of 4,340 in the final which was still an improvement from the 3,660 she posted in the first round.

Although it wasn’t a very good score, it was still enough for her to squeeze home the gold ahead of Australians Sade Ferguson (3,940) and Layne Moroney (3,930).

Aaliyah however will be pleased with her efforts in both slalom and jump in which she finished with silver, twice behind Ferguson.

For slalom, she ramped up a run of 0.5/55/12 behind Ferguson’s run of 4.5/55/12 while she had a distance of 37.8m in jump. Ferguson narrowly took the top spot with a distance of 41.5m.

Aaliyah however will be exceptionally pleased with her effort in jump especially since she broke her own national record during the first round on Saturday. Then she flew a distance of 38.9m to erase the previous record of 35.6m.

“This weekend’s performance was fulfilling for two events – slalom and jump, but a bummer in tricks,” said Aaliyah.

“It’s my first time doing a new 6-flip sequence in a tournament that starts off with a big trick. It’s probably not the best trick to start off with and I’ll go with a smaller point flip in the future.

“Fortunately this tournament is just a practice before the Moomba Masters event next week which is my main objective.”

While Aaliyah had a mixed bag of results, 13-year-old Aiden was grinning from ear-to-ear after a top notch showing in men’s tricks all weekend.

Aiden, the middle sibling, had always fallen short in competitions especially against his younger brother Adam who had stolen ahead by winning the SEA Games gold in 2017.

There was no stopping Aiden this time as he went on a record breaking run, not once but twice.

First he put a score of 5,520 during the first round on Saturday to erase Adam’s national record score of 4,750 points.

Not contented, Aiden came back out during the final to put up a run of 5,680 points, rewriting the record for the second time in a matter of days.

To put the icing on the cake, he also finished with a bronze medal behind Australians Archie David (8,680) and Patrick Crisp (7,030).

The 11-year-old Adam on the other hand wasn’t too far behind as he notched 4,310 points in the final, an improvement from his 4,000 points the previous day, to settle for fourth place.

“I’ve waited more than 18 months for this. It is sweet to finally beat Adam’s national record in open men’s tricks,” said Aiden.

Aaliyah and her father cum coach Hanifah Yoong will continue to stay on in Australia where Aaliyah is due to compete at the prestigious Moomba Masters from March 6-11.

The trip down under was made possible with support from the Malaysian Ministry of Youth & Sports with MWWF’s chief coach Hanifah saying, “Team Malaysia Waterski this year again has the support of the National Sports Council of Malaysia for the 2019 training and competition programme and we look forward to see our athletes continue to improve in the world rankings.”

Other sponsors include Natique Boats of USA, D3 Skis, Perbadanan Putrajaya and WWWC.


February 21, 2019

PUTRAJAYA – Teenager Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah has been invited again to participate in 2019 Moomba Masters held in the city of Melbourne scheduled for the 6th to the 11th of March 2019.

This will be the 7th appearance in the Moomba Masters for the 15 year old Aaliyah who made her debut in  2013 when she was a mere 9 year old competing in the junior Moomba for U18 girls.

Aaliyah had ascended the podium three times in the junior Moomba girls tricks event when she finished 2nd in 2014, 2nd again in 2015 and 3rd in 2017. Her highest placement in the pro-women tricks event was 8th.

She is looking forward to get up on the junior girls podium again this year in another 2 disciplines of jump and overall besides her pet event of tricks. Aaliyah is seeded no. 2 in girls tricks, no. 4 in girls jump and no. 12 in girls slalom.

In pro-women tricks Aaliyah is seeded no. 12 in a star studded filed which include 8 present and past world champions. World champions invited for the pro women tricks include Erika Lang and Anna Gay from USA, Neilly Ross and Whitney McClintock from Canada, Natalia Bernikava from Belarus, Jacinta Carroll from Australia.

For warm up, Aaliyah is also slotted to participate in the 2019 Oceanian championships scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd March in Latrobe city 2 hours out of Melbourne. Her siblings Aiden Yoong Hanifah, 13 and 2017 SEA Games gold medalist, Adam Yoong Hanifah, 11 will join Aaliyah in the Oceanian championships.

The 3 Malaysian national waterski athletes will depart for Melbourne with their coach and father Hanifah Yoong next week on the 26th of February.

Hanifah said, “Aaliyah has improved in all her 3 disciplines of tricks, slalom and jump in training past months. Especially so in jump which will put her in a strong position to have two chances for world championship podiums besides tricks in the years to come.”

The near term target is for her to be a junior world champion in 2020 but Aaliyah has to juggle her waterski career with her studies as this year is also her IGCSE exam year for the year 11 student of Nexus International School in Putrajaya.”

Aaliyah agrees it’s tough for her this year but, “I am going to try not to compromise my studies just for the sport and will work very hard in both. I am not alone in this as all young athletes on the way up go through this phase of important exams in school.”

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