Teenager waterskier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah has capped her adventure at the Moomba Masters with an incredible high after finishing with one gold and one bronze.
The 18-year-old Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) Star Scholar had already been hitting her strides, after taking three golds – tricks, jump and overall – as well as a bronze in the Junior Moomba in Melbourne last week.
And she rode the challenge on the tricky Yarra River to take home an unexpected bronze in tricks in the open category as well as the women’s overall gold medal.
Competing in the Moomba meet for the 10th time, Aaliyah performed above expectations as she nailed a total of 7,050 points in the tricks final on Monday.
That was enough to earn her the bronze behind Canada’s Neilly Ross who tallied 10,390 and United States’ Erika Lang who scored 10,260.
It was certainly an unexpected result for Aaliyah who had qualified for the final in fourth place after posting 6,530 in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Aaliyah won her first ever pro waterski event prize money of AUD3,500 with his 3rd in open women tricks.
Having qualified for the open women jump final in fourth place, Aaliyah lept to a distance of 39.1m to maintain a fourth finish in the final and winning her AUD2,000 prize money for her effort.
World champion & world record holder, Australia’s Jacinta Carroll strolled to the gold with a distance of 58.5m, followed by Chile’s Valentina Gonzalez (45.7m) while Australia’s Casey Wooderson finished third with a distance of 43m.
But Aaliyah’s efforts, together with a ninth place finish in slalom, was enough to help her take home the overall gold in the open women category.
She had a total of 2,668.52 points, ahead of Chile’s Valentina Gonzalez (2,323.40) and New Zealand’s Courtney Williams (2,082.85).
It was certainly a milestone achievement for Aaliyah as it is her maiden medals from an open category at the elite world stage.
“The best Moomba Masters ever. It has certainly been an incredible week for me and the highlight has got to be taking third in open women’s tricks,” said Aaliyah.
“That happens to be my first world level podium finish in the open category and I’m pleased about that.
“It was also good to produce two successive personal best jumps of 39.5m and 41.4m during the Junior Moomba to break the national record twice in two days.
“I’m definitely very happy with my performances here and this should give me added confidence for the future.”
Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) head coach Hanifah Yoong was also pleased with Aaliyah’s progress.
“This is the coming of age acid test for Aaliyah and she proved her competitiveness at the world level by getting into the finals of tricks and jump in the open category,” said Hanifah.
“She also proved that she is becoming more independent and can manage an event by herself after traveling to Melbourne on her own.
“We are happy that she has pulled through with high level performances and to come out with flying colours on top of managing her schedule and preparations.”
Aaliyah is sponsored by Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD), Majlis Sukan Negara, Nautique Boats USA, D3 Skis USA and the Putrajaya Waterski School.