PUTRAJAYA – Women’s water skiing talent Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah will be looking to break new ground once again as she heads into her 10th year competing at the prestigious Moomba Masters in Melbourne, Australia from March 11-13.
The multiple SEA Games gold medallist, had relocated to the United States in January, where she pursues her tertiary education to study psychology at the Florida Southern College whilst continuing her water ski training, arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday to prepare for the competition at the Yarra River and get over the jetlag.
And the Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) scholar and ambassador, will once again be looking to hit new personal heights against an elite class of top world ranked skiers in her first major competition of the year.
Unfortunately, with a high number of elite skiers down to compete in this year’s Moomba meet, Aaliyah has not made the cut to compete in slalom.
The 19-year-old is the first reserve for slalom but that also means she will be unable to show her prowess as an overall skier and defend her overall gold medal – her first major senior gold medal, from last year.
Aaliyah will however still be competing in her favourite event – tricks, as well as jump.
And Aaliyah, who also won bronze in tricks last year, will be aiming to set a score near her personal best in tricks, with her current record sitting at a cool 8,080 set in Florida last year. She is likely to have a good chance to break her Moomba jump PB of 41.4m set on the Yarra River last year.
“I will definitely aim to do my best but it has been tough for me the past two months having had to balance training and university studies,” said Aaliyah.
“Furthermore, all the world’s best open skiers are coming to the Moomba Masters so my focus is trying to get a new personal best if possible.
“The main thing however is that I do have a long season of competitions this year and I certainly need to pace myself.
“My main goal this year is still the Under-21 World Championships in Mexico in June and my training schedule is to peak there,” she added.
Besides Aaliyah, some of the other top skiers include Americans Erika Lang and Anna Gay, Canada’s Neilly Ross and Paige Rini as well as Australian veteran Jacinta Caroll in jump.
Meanwhile Aaliyah also shared that she has been adapting to college life but will still be ready for the competition.
“I’m really happy to have selected Florida Southern College and I am grateful to be accepted because the acceptance rate is really low,” explained Aaliyah.
“The campus has a large sprawling spread of buildings with a low student to academic staff ratio which is what I like as we get better attention from our professors.
“The college is nationally acclaimed located not far from Orlando and more than 90% of freshmen stay on campus, including me.
“I do have lectures spread out over five days of the week but I also train on the campus lake which is a great experience as well.
“Despite trying to settle down and make a good impression at college, I still believe I am reasonably ready for my first event of the season and I’m definitely going to try my best.”
Aaliyah will see action on March 12 as she first competes in the preliminaries of the tricks and jump events.
Only the top six skiers from the preliminaries proceed to the final on March 13.Aaliyah is supported by the National Sports Council of Malaysia, National Sports Institute of Malaysia, Sime Darby Foundation, Nautique Boats of USA, Putrajaya Corporation and Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup Sdn. Bhd.
Article Source : Surya Vision Communications Sdn Bhd / TonyMariadass