PETALING JAYA: Waterskier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah was up to her best tricks to give her best-ever showing with two silver medals at the Junior Moomba in Melbourne, Australia.
The 15-year-old skier bounced back strongly following two falls at the Oceania Waterski Championships in Latrobe, Melbourne, last week to amass 7,230 points at the Yarra River on Thursday.
She settled for silver behind world tricks champion and top seed Neilly Ross of Canada, who raked in 8,790 points. Chile’s Josefa Gonzalez finished third with 4,880 points.
Aaliyah equalled her efforts in 2014 and 2015 when she took home the silver in tricks as well.
She also settled for silver in the overall event with a total of 2,668.74 points.
Australia’s world junior champion Sade Ferguson won the overall gold for winning the slalom and jump events for an overall total of 2,677.73 points.
Aaliyah believes she’s on track to challenge for a podium finish at the 2020 World Junior Championships.
“I’m very happy that I’m able to match Sade in the overall as she’s the favourite for the world junior title in 2020. That’s the yardstick I’m aiming for,” said Aaliyah.
“Losing gold in the overall to Sade by a mere few points shows that I’m certainly able to challenge for the overall world junior title next year.”
Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) head coach Hanifah Yoong added Aaliyah has come within striking distance of Sade and the United States’ Kennedy Hansen, the top two junior skiers in the world right now.
“She showed at the Junior Moomba that she’s not only a contender for the world junior tricks title but also the overall,” said Hanifah who is also Aaliyah’s father.
“She’s expected to be ranked No. 3 overall behind Kennedy and Sade at the 2020 world juniors, so she has to stay within striking distance for all three disciplines of jump, slalom and tricks.
Aaliyah, who is a student with the Nexus International School, will now take a break in order to focus on her IGCSE exams in May and will return to compete in the Waterski World Championships in Putrajaya in August.