Thursday February 21, 2013
Aaliyah eyes finals spot in her first major outing
PETALING JAYA: Ten-year-old Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah is relishing the prospect of competing in her first ever IWWF Junior World Waterski Championships in Muwala, Australia starting today.
Aaliyah, a primary five student at Nexus International School, is a hot young prospect in the girls’ tricks event and is banking on improving her personal best and qualify for the finals.
The competition is one of eight international events that the youngster is slated to take part in this year.
The other events are in Indonesia, France and Malaysia.
“My target in the first of my Junior Worlds is to be able to better my personal best performance of 4,220 points in the tricks event,” said Aaliyah, who will compete in the girls’ Under-17 category.
“If I can make around 4,500 points, I stand a good chance of finishing in the top 12 (preliminary round) tomorrow and hopefully enter the finals,” she added.
The competition, held at the Max Kirwan Lakes, 350km north of Melbourne, will feature 27 girls from 15 countries in the Under-17 category.
Her father and coach, Hanifah Yoong said the meet will be an acid test for the young prodigy.
“Aaliyah is ranked 18 among the 26 girls in the competition but she has since improved further in training. Now is the test to see where she stands among the world’s Under-17 skiers,” said Hanifah.
“Anything can happen in the tricks discipline but we believe she is mentally prepared to get into the finals.”
American Erika Lang, 17, the top ranked Under-17 skier is a firm favourite to take the title.
Others in the fray include Americans Anna Gray and Brooke Baldwin as well as Canada’s Neilly Ross and Italian Alice Bagnoli.