Right tonic for talented youngsters


Syahir had a fruitful outing as he broke the national slalom record twice in a day.

Syahir had a fruitful outing as he broke the national slalom record twice in a day.

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.

Aaliyah in action during the slalom event where she finished fourth in the Under-17 category.
Aaliyah in action during the slalom event where she finished fourth in the under-17 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.

Adam finished top in the Under-13 category and is expected to fare well in the upcoming SEA Games.
Adam finished top in the Under-13 category and is expected to fare well in the upcoming SEA Games.

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 medallist, 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.”