TEENAGER Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah will be taking part in the 2019 Moomba Masters at Melbourne, Australia, from tomorrow to March 11.
This will be the seventh appearance in the Moomba Masters for the 15-year-old, who made her debut in 2013 when she was just nine years old and in the junior Moomba for Under-18 girls.
Aaliyah had ascended the podium three times in the Junior Moomba girls Tricks event when she finished second in 2014, second again in 2015 and third in 2017.
Her highest placement in the Pro-women Tricks event has been eighth.
She is looking forward to get up on the junior girls podium again this year in another two disciplines – Jump and Overall – on top of her pet event of Tricks.
Aaliyah is the second seed in Tricks, fourth in Jump and 12th in the Slalom
In the Pro-women Tricks, Aaliyah is seeded 12 in a star-studded field which includes eight present and past world champions.
World champions invited for the Pro-women Tricks include Erika Lang and Anna Gay from the United States, Neilly Ross and Whitney McClintock from Canada, Natallia Bernikava from Belarus as well as Jacinta Carroll from Australia.
For her warm-up, Aaliyah took part in the 2019 Oceanian Championships in Latrobe City, two hours out of Melbourne.
Her siblings, Aiden Yoong Hanifah and 2017 SEA Games gold medallist Adam Yoong Hanifah, also joined her in the Oceanian Championships.
The three Malaysian national water ski athletes will be accompanied by their coach and father Hanifah Yoong.
Hanifah said: “Aaliyah has improved in all her three disciplines of Tricks.
Slalom and Jump in training the 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 she will be sitting for her IGCSE exam this year,” he said of the Year 11 student at Nexus International School in Putrajaya.
While Aaliyah agrees it will be a tough year ahead, she said she would work hard and excel in both studying and sports.
“I am not alone as all young athletes go through this phase of having to sit for important exams in school.”