PETALING JAYA: Teenage water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah (pic) is giving her undivided attention to the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
The 13-year-old, a two-gold medallist at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, has opted to skip two major tournaments to concentrate on the Aug 19-30 Games.
Aaliyah, who is targeted to win three golds at the SEA Games, will miss the World Under-21 Waterski Championships in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, from July 13-17 and World Games in Wroclaw, Poland, from July 24-28.
Besides that, Aaliyah will also withdraw from the World Championships in Paris from Sept 3-10.
“Aaliyah is totally focused on the SEA Games, that’s why she’s pulling out from the two championships. She is also pulling out of the world meet as it’s just too soon after the end of the KL Games,” said Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) head coach Hanifah Yoong.
“Aaliyah has received a lot of world-level exposure for the past three years so she won’t miss too much by withdrawing from these three events.
“She also competed in the Moomba Masters in March and is also invited to the prestigious US Masters from May 26-28. That’s already two top-level tournaments for her this year.”
Aaliyah is now undergoing a six-week training stint with her brothers – Aiden, 11 and Adam, 9 – and 18-year-old Syahir Nasir in Florida, the United States, under renowned ski coach Cory Pickos.
All of them will compete in the Inboard Records Tournament at the Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, from May 13-14 and Sunset Lakes Cup in Orlando from May 19-21.
Only Aaliyah will compete in the US Masters at the Callaway Gardens in Atlanta.