PETALING JAYA: Teenage water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah is making waves again – this time in the Asia-Oceania Waterski and Wakeboard Championships in New Zealand.
Not only did the 13-year-old win two gold medals, she also broke the Asian record in the Open women’s tricks final.
She registered a new personal best score of 7,600 points in the final at Lake Kereta, Auckland, yesterday to become the first Asian to bag the gold medal in the combined Asia-Oceania category since the tournament’s inception 40 years ago.
Australian Katelyn Miller (6,260pts) took silver and Kiwi Georgia O’Connell (4,170pts) the bronze.
The day was made even sweeter for Aaliyah when her 7,600 points saw her grabbing the gold in the Asian category with a new record. It erased her own previous mark of 6,810.
Two Japanese – Saaya Hirosawa (3,620pts) and Kazumi Inoue (3,370pts) took silver and bronze in the Asian category.
This win proves that Aaliyah has learned her lesson after starting the year by missing the cut for the final of the World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile, last month.
Then, the Singapore SEA Games double gold medallist took an early fall and only scored 2,560 to finish in 35th spot.
“My failure in Chile was definitely a bummer, but I’ve learned to be more relaxed. I’m back on track in the tricks here,” said Aaliyah
“I didn’t do too well in the slalom preliminaries here ... didn’t make the final, but I more than made up for it with my results in tricks.
“I also managed a new personal best in jump (27.9m) and that’s great because I haven’t made any new marks in a while.”
Aaliyah’s 11-year-old brother Aiden also did well by grabbing silver in the Under-17 category of the Asian Championships.
Aiden scored 2,720 points to finish behind Indonesia’s Diams Ridho Suprihono (3,180pts).
Nine-year-old Adam, the youngest of the Hanifah siblings, just missed out on a medal after scoring 2,230 points to finish fourth behind South Korea’s Ju Seong-min (2,560pts).