THE waterskiing sport is making headway once again since relocating to be based at the Putrajaya Lake.
It has a track record of more than 30 years in Malaysia, dating back to the 1980s, before it made its SEA Games debut in 1997 in Jakarta when Phillipa Yoong
won a gold and her brother and former F1 driver Alex Yoong won a silver.
The 1998 Asian financial crisis, however, nearly pulled the curtain down on the sport even in its infancy stage as there were no waterski events in Malaysia for the best part of 10 years.
The sport was given a second chance at life in 2008 when it was revived through the 2008 and 2009 IWWF Waterski World Cup held in Putrajaya to tell the world that Malaysia was back and waterskiing was now centred in Putrajaya.
The Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation’s (MWWF) 10-year development programme, which started in 2009, has also delivered steady results, especially in recent years.
With the emergence of now-teenage prodigy Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah, waterskiing has certainly recaptured the attention of enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
At only 15, Aaliyah has already come a long way.
She is a six-time SEA Games gold medallist, having won her first when she was only eight.
She has also won multiple Asian and Oceanian competitions and is the undisputed tricks record holder for women in Asia, catapulting her to be a leading figure for the sport in the country.
In line with her gradual ascent, the MWWF is proud to be hosting the 2019 IWWF Waterski World Championships that will be held from Aug 13 to 19 at Putrajaya.
There are two main reasons for hosting a world-level event of this scale.
The first is to use this world championship as a catalyst to launch a new grassroots development programme to nurture youths to succeed Aaliyah in the future.
Secondly, it is also the start of a new five-year plan with Aaliyah at the forefront as Malaysia looks to produce a waterski world champion.
“We are very happy to see Putrajaya grow to become a popular destination for waterski and wakeboard activities as many skiers from other countries come here to train between November and March every year,” said MWWF vice-president Alex.
“Today, as a result of the 10-year development programme by the MWWF, we are pleased to say that we have certainly achieved our goal of producing world-level skiers with high world rankings.
“Aaliyah is one such product of this development.
“Now, hopefully, this year’s world championships will be the springboard for us to kick-in not only our important grassroots development programme but also our new world podium development programme – the five-year plan to produce a waterski world champion or at least be on the podium in a future Waterski World Championship,” Alex added.
To make it an even grander affair, this year’s championships will also receive the highest number of participants in the 70-year history of the IWWF world meets since 1949.
A total of 167 athletes from 33 countries will make the trip to Malaysia, among them eight reigning world champions.
The 2019 IWWF World Waterski Championships is hosted by Putrajaya Corporation and supported by Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s agency Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Youth and Sports Ministry and Nautique Boats USA.
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