Eleven-year-old Aaliyah Yoong insisted she was already a “veteran” in competitive wakeboarding as she became the Singapore SEA Games’ youngest winner on Friday.
The Malaysian prodigy has some justification for the claim as in 2011, she won SEA Games gold aged only eight to set the record as the tournament’s youngest ever champion.
And despite her tender years and angelic appearance, Yoong tightened her iron grip on the sport with an emphatic women’s tricks win at Singapore’s Bedok Reservoir.
Yoong shrugged off stormy weather in Singapore to score 4,850 points, finishing way ahead of 16-year-old Indonesian Nur Alimah Prambodo’s 2,930.
“I think I could have done a little better but overall I am still proud of my performance today,” she said, according to the New Straits Times.
“To complete two passes standing up was really tough because the waves were big and there was also quite a lot of backwash.”
Surprisingly Yoong is not the youngest wakeboarder at the SEA Games — and in fact, she’s not even the youngest from her family in the competition.
Seven-year-old Adam Yoong competed in the men’s event and Aiden Yoong, nine, goes in the men’s tricks competition on Saturday.
The family group is led by their waterskiing elder brother Alex Yoong, 38, who has already found fame through his career as a racing driver and TV commentator.
But given the presence of her younger siblings, it’s not surprising that Aaliyah considers herself a wakeboarding doyenne at the age of only 11.
“I have been training a lot for the SEA Games,” she said. “My dad says I am already a veteran and I guess I am already quite experienced at this level.” – Agence France-Presse