Asian skiers get shot in the arm at world meet


  • Other Sports
  • Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019

Tricky start: Aiden Yoong Hanifah in action in the tricks category at the IWWF Waterski World Championships in Putrajaya yesterday. — Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: Asian skiers will have every reason to perform to their best in this week’s Waterski World Championships at the Putrajaya Lake.

This is because for the first time the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) have approved of a parallel “Best Asian Skier” category to run alongside the main world meet event.

This is indeed a significant move aimed at giving recognition to the passion and dedication of Asian skiers as well as giving the sport a big development push in this region.

With waterski in Asia still lagging behind the American and European counterparts, it is highly unlikely for the Asian skiers participating in the world meet to make it through to the finals from the preliminaries.

The only Asian skier who could place in the top 12 in the preliminaries to make the final is Malaysian sensation Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah, who is currently ranked No. 12 in the IWWF world rankings in the tricks event.

But it is still a very tall order for the 16-year-old who is going up against some of the best in the world like Canada’s Neilly Ross and Americans Anna Gay and Erika Lang.

It will take a huge effort from Aaliyah to score an approximate 8, 200 points – a score she has yet to achieve in any competitions, to make it through to the final round. Her personal best currently stands at 7, 600 points.

Thus the Asian awards category is approved by the IWWF to honour the Asian skiers’ efforts, and it is also a chance for Malaysia to showcase their four athletes entered in the world meet.

Apart from Aaliyah, the other three are her brothers – Aiden Yoong Hanifah and Adam Yoong Hanifah, aged 14 and 12 respectively and 22-year-old Nadiah Nasir. With an average age of 16, Malaysia will be the youngest team among the 32 countries competing.

And yet, the team will be entering the competition with an aim to finish as the top Asian country in the mix.

“The Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) are very heartened that this year’s competition has attracted a total of 143 entries from 32 countries. But above all, we are also very excited to see a record 24 Asian skiers in the world meet battling it out for the best Asian awards, ” said MWWF head coach Hanifah Yoong.

The Asian category award will recognise the three best Asian skiers in each of the four disciplines – slalom, tricks, jump and overall for both men and women, making it a total of 24 awards to be given out in this category.

Admission to the world meet is free. The preliminary rounds will be held until Aug 16. The finals will be held on Aug 17-18.

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