PETALING JAYA: Young water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah has impressed with another strong outing – this time at the Moomba Masters in Melbourne, Australia.
The 13-year-old claimed a bronze medal in the tricks event of the Junior Moomba (Under-17 event) on the Yarra River over the weekend.
She nearly made the six-skier final in the Open category before eventually settling for seventh spot.
Aaliyah has enjoyed a strong start to the year, having won two gold medals and a new personal best of 7,600 points in tricks at the Asia-Oceania Waterski and Wakeboard Championships in New Zealand last month.
At the Moomba invitational meet, Aaliyah started strongly to score 6,570 points for a third placing in the junior category.
It’s her third medal at the Junior Moomba. She was a silver medallist in 2014 and 2015.
But the bronze is worth its weight in gold as she was up against a world-class field this time.
Reigning world champion Anna Gay of the United States won with a total score of 10,220 points while world meet runner-up Neilly Ross of Canada was second with 8,450.
“I was rather relaxed for the runs in both rounds. Our strategy was for me to just stand up in all my passes and not chase the extra points on the Yarra ... it worked out well,” said Aaliyah.
In the Open category, Aaliyah scored 6,910 points in the first round to be placed seventh and qualify for the eight-skier semi-finals.
But Aaliyah, who won two gold medals at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, took a tumble towards the end of the semi-finals and finished with 5,510 points for a seventh placing.
Only the top six made the final.
Sixteen-year-old Ross (9,920pts) won the Open category, followed the United States’ former world champion Erika Lang (9,670) and Belarus’ Natallia Berdnikava (8,730).
“I did pretty well in the Open category by scoring 6,910 points in the first round despite falling on my last trick,” said Aaliyah.
“I’m a bit disappointed with my semi-final performance. Anyway, it’s good for me to have some failures. I was up against some world-level skiers and I know I still have many more years ahead of me to get onto the podium.”