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Aaliyah, 14, defends waterski overall title


26 Aug 2017
Putrajaya, Malaysia, August 26, 2017: Malaysia’s talented young water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah continued her impressive record by defending her SEA Games women’s overall title at the Water Sports Complex in Putrajaya on Saturday afternoon.

The 14-year-old Aaliyah, who competed in the Olympic Council of Asia’s Asian Beach Games in Muscat, Oman, in 2010 at the age of seven, was a runaway winner of the two-day, three-discipline overall event at the 29th SEA Games.

The Malaysian teen scored a total of 2,678.89 points over the three competitions – slalom, tricks and jump – to defend the overall crown she won at the 28th SEA Games in Singapore in 2015. Indonesia’s Nur Alimah Priambodo took the silver medal with 1,874.41 points, ahead of compatriot Rossi Amir with 1,232.66 points for bronze.

This was Aaliyah’s fourth SEA Games gold medal, after winning the women’s tricks at Palembang, Indonesia, in 2011 and the tricks and overall at Singapore 2015. Aaliyah said she was happy to be able to contribute a gold medal to the country's haul at KL2017, considering the circumstances she faced.\

"This gold means a lot to me as I struggled with a number of issues today," she said. "I have had a fever for the past few days and needed an injection to bring my temperature down. It was also tough for me as my back was hurting.”

Aaliyah will try to defend her tricks gold medal from 2015, as well as compete in the slalom and jump, next week. When asked about her rivals in the overall competition, she replied: “I have been competing with them for ages and I feel really relaxed because they are like my friends.” 

Aaliyah began water skiing when she was five years old and says her ambition is to be a multiple world champion and then a coach. The men’s overall category gold medal was bagged by Indonesia’s Muhammad Zahidi Putu with a score of 2,372.37, followed by his compatriot Febrianto Kadir with 1,316.17 points. The bronze medal was won by Mark Leong of Singapore with a score of 1,173.30.
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