Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah has come so far in the world of waterski since bursting onto the scene in 2011. As a pre-teen, she has already demonstrated huge amounts of potential when she won the SEA Games gold medal for tricks at the age of 8.
It would be the first of her many major victories and it certainly set her down the path in professional water skiing.
In the eight years since, Aaliyah has accumulated a lot of achievements, including becoming an Asian Oceanian champion in 2014 and is also a 9-time Asian champion not only in her pet event of tricks but now also in jump and overall.
Now 15-years-old, Aaliyah is slowly but surely moving up on the world stage and there is no better platform to show what’s she’s made of at the 2019 IWWF World Waterski Championships for the open category that will be held on home ground in Putrajaya from August 13-19.
The teenager can certainly draw on past experience as she looks to make a good impression against the world’s best skiers. In fact, Aaliyah is already quite a ‘veteran’ in competing at the world meet.
She made her debut at the World Championships in Dubna, Russia in 2011 and also competed in the 2013 edition that was held in Santiago, Chile.
She achieved her best result at the open world meet at her third attempt – the 2015 edition that was held in Guadalajara, Mexico where she came in 24th in tricks, when still only 13 years old, against a top level field of adult open skiers. Aaliyah gave the 2017 edition a miss in order to concentrate on the SEA Games that Malaysia hosted as she also honing her skills as three-event skier.
But she’s more prepared than ever to put up a strong showing in August, which would be her fourth world meet. With a personal best of 7,600 points, achieved in 2017, Aaliyah is more than capable of finishing in the top 20 or better for the first time.
In fact that is also her goal as she is also currently ranked No. 20 in the world with an average score of 6,880, becoming the first ever Malaysian woman to scale such heights. It won’t be an easy task as the best skiers in the world such as Americans Erika Lang and Anna Gay as well reigning world champion Neilly Ross of Canada are all expected to make the trip to Malaysia.
Aaliyah will however draw confidence from the fact that she’s been putting up a good showing of late in tricks, judging by her run at the Junior Moomba in March. Then she put up a score of 7,230 to take the silver behind Ross and it will surely serve in good stead for the worlds in August.
The 2019 IWWF World Waterski Championship in Malaysia is hosted and sponsored by the Putrajaya city and co-sponsored by Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Ministry of Youth & Sports and Nautique Boats of USA.