SINGAPORE: Not even the bad weather could ruin 11-year-old Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah’s day as she cemented her status as the undisputed water ski tricks champion in South-East Asia.
Aaliyah, who was the youngest ever gold medallist in SEA Games history when she won the event four years ago at age eight, was again too strong for the field as she easily defended her title at the Bedok Reservoir.
And she did so in style, showing off a variety of tricks, including two flips, for a total of 4,850 points for the gold.
It was far from her personal best of 6,290 points – the Asian record, but it was still a Games record. She broke her old record of 4,840 points, set during the preliminary round a day earlier.
Indonesia’s Nur Alimah Priambodo settled for the silver with 2,930 points while the host nation’s Sabelle Kee took the bronze with 2,620 points.
With that done and dusted, Aaliyah is now eyeing medals in other events - the slalom and the women’s overall.
“I’m really proud of my performance even though I thought I could have gotten more points,” said a jubilant Aaliyah.
“I’m still happy to win, especially after training so hard for this.
“My dad has been telling me that I’m already a veteran at my age and I just had to win.”
It was double joy for the Yoong family as Aaliyah’s younger brother – nine-year-old Aiden, clinched the bronze in the men’s tricks to become the youngest Malaysian medallist at this SEA Games.
Aiden cut a cool and composed figure on the skis and eventually finished with a personal best of 3,180 points.
Big brother Alex failed to make it triple joy as he fell during both passes to finish fifth with 1,200 points.
Indonesian pair Febrianto Febrianto and Dimas Ridho Suprihono took the gold and silver respectively.
“It’s so awesome to get a medal and a personal best. I’m 100% happy and I want to try to hit 4,000 points soon,” said Aiden.
The Star Online