At only 14 years of age, Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah is already out making waves as Malaysia’s prominent national waterskier.
Aaliyah, who made the top 20 world ranking for the Under-17 category in the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) last year, is determined to bag two gold medals at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August.
Her confidence is backed by her hard work and experience; Aaliyah successfully bagged two gold medals at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, and she has been diligently training hard in Florida.
“I spent seven weeks training in Florida, and I think the training has really helped to improve my performance.” Aaliyah told BHarian.
“I have been working hard on my jump technique. I feel more confident now for the jump and slalom events. I have also achieved new personal bests in both.” said the 14-year-old, who is aiming to bag nothing less than gold in the trick and overall women’s event.
Aaliyah admits that she has come a long way since winning her first gold in Palembang in 2011, especially since she didn’t have her expectations up at that time.
She was only 8 at the time, and was not aware of the degree of her success. She also became Asia’s 3rd ranked women trick skier that same year.
Now that she’s a consistent gold medalist, she feels more pressure to perform well, which is why she’s thankful that Malaysia is hosting the SEA Games.
“I think the fact that I’ll be competing at home takes away a bit of pressure. I’ll do my best.”
“There’s still a lot of time before the Games and a lot more training to be done. It’s important that I pace myself well and peak when it matters.” The Star quoted her as saying.
The 2017 KL SEA Games will be happening from 19th August until 31st August. Get your tickets here.