Eight year old Mia Taryn Kondrollochis showing off the two gold medals she won at the Putrajaya International Waterskiing Championships last week.
PETALING JAYA: Mia Taryn Kondrollochis is a tiny girl with a big, brave heart and even bigger dreams.
Mia, who turned eight on March 19, is only 124cm (four feet) tall and took up waterskiing for fun at the age of six and liked it.
Nine months later, she decided to turn pro.
Mia made her international debut in the Malindo Junior Waterski Championships in Jakarta in March. Despite being nervous, she did well to garner a total of 990 points in the trick and slalom events to finish fourth overall in the Under-12 category.
Though disappointed, it did not dampen her spirit and she continued to train diligently.
And her dedication paid off in the Putrajaya International Championships last week as Mia upstaged more experienced opponents from Belgium, Kenya and Indonesia to clinch two gold medals in the trick and slalom events – also in Under-12 division.
She accumulated a total of 1,300 points in the Putrajaya meet, thus surpassing the qualifying mark for the Asian Beach Games in Phuket from Nov 14-23.
Mia’s mother, Michelle Fernandez, said that they had only expected her to win a silver or a bronze in the Putrajaya meet but “she did extremely well to win two golds”.
For her efforts, Mia was roped into the national training squad for next year’s Singapore SEA Games.
She is ranked 164th in South-East Asia – and above 300 in Asia. Her aim is to be ranked in the top three in Asia by the time she is 12.
Mia, whose father (Adam) is half-Greek and half-Malaysian, said that she has no fear of water.
“I love water ... I took up swimming when I was four. I used to follow my parents to the Putrajaya lake to watch national waterskier Aaliyah (Yoong) train.
“I was fascinated by the way she does her routines and tricks during training. She became my idol and I told my parents that I too wanted to become a waterskier like Aaliyah,” said Mia, who trains four times a week.
Aaliyah’s elder sister Phillipa, who is a professional waterskier, helps train Mia.
This young and tiny girl certainly knows what she wants.
“I not only want to win medals in international competitions but my ambition is to become a doctor,” said the shy Mia, who is the eldest of two siblings.
Her mum Michelle is not surprised by her daughter’s achievements at such a tender age.
“She is a quick-learner ... she picks up new things fast and is comfortable when she’s in the water. She is calm and confident and can also do her stunts well on water,” said Michelle.
“But she needs to hone and perfect her skills and tricks to further improve her ranking in Asia.
“She should focus on becoming a good waterskier like Aaliyah, who has done very well in international competitions.”
Michelle, however, lamented the fact that sports like waterski doesn’t get much financial assistance from the government.
“We get very little aid and we have to fork out our own money to pay for our daughter’s training,” said Michelle.