Aaliyah on fire with four golds in sight at Asian meet


Rising star: Aiden Yoong Hanifah won the Under-17 tricks gold medal.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian waterski darling Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah is on course for a clean sweep of four gold medals at the Asian Waterski and Wakesport Championships.

The 16-year-old has qualified for the tricks, slalom and jump finals in spectacular fashion after finishing tops in the preliminary rounds of all the three events at the TE Wake N Ski in Bang Sai just outside of Bangkok, Thailand over the last two days.

If she can maintain the same form in all three events, she is a shoo-in to bag the overall title as well.

Aaliyah gets into action in the tricks final today and slalom and jump finals tomorrow.

On Wednesday, she broke her previous Asian Open women tricks record with a score of 7,680 points to finish first in the preliminary round.

Her previous record was 7,440 points en route to finishing ninth in the final of the World Waterski Championships in Putrajaya last month to become the first Asian to compete in the final.

In the slalom preliminaries, she set a pace of 2/55/12 to break the long-standing 18-year Asian Championship record. The previous mark was a 5/55/13 that was set by South Korea’s Kim Key-young back in 2001.

In the jump, she impressed with a score of 36.9m on Thursday.

“It’s definitely the start that I expected. My goal in the preliminaries was to try and get a new personal best so I’m glad to get that down early, ” said Aaliyah.

“It’s been hard to stay consistent by doing over 7,000 points for the past two years but I’m with that development.”

If her form at the world meet last month is to be a yardstick for the Asian meet, Aaliyah is likely to take home all four gold medals.

The teenage prodigy bagged the Best Asian category awards in all four events – tricks, slalom, jump and overall – in Putrajaya.

Meanwhile Aaliyah’s younger brothers Aiden and Adam bagged home medals in the junior Under-17 events.

The 13-year-old Aiden won the Under-17 tricks gold medal and overall bronze while 11-year-old Adam grabbed the bronze in the Under-17 tricks event on Wednesday.

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