Malaysia’s ex-Formula One driver, Alex Yoong, joined his younger siblings, who were on a break from school, to win a family treasure trove of medals at the SEA Games in Singapore.
While the 38-year-old Yoong took silver in the overall and bronze in the jump and slalom, 11-year-old half-sister Aaliyah won the women’s overall and tricks titles and took silver in the jump. Nine-year-old half-brother Aiden took bronze in the men’s tricks. The family’s tally was seven.
Seven-year-old brother Adam took part in the men’s wakeboard in Singapore but didn’t medal and he was more worried that his school friends were missing them as the final day of action wrapped up at the Bedok Reservoir.
Alex, like Aaliyah, Aiden and Adam, began his water-ski career as a child but only because his small stature was hindering his motor racing.
Yoong still looked trim enough to fit into the tiny cockpit of the Minardi Formula One car he drove in 2001 and 2002, but wished he was bigger.
In a competition full of muscular twenty something opponents, his young siblings aside, Yoong said he needed to bulk up.
Yoong’s medal haul came despite nursing a mashed up knee through the four days of competition, wearing a supporting brace to help him through. He said he had more private goals he wanted to achieve in the sport but was weighing up surgery on the damaged cruciate and medial ligaments upon return to Kuala Lumpur.
Completing the sporting family was proud father Hanifah Yoong, a former 400 metre hurdler and now understandably proud team manager of the Malaysian water-ski side.
The young ages of the troop meant he had far different tasks to most in his role but he was delighted if it meant having the family together.
Indonesia and Singapore won three gold medals in the waterski competition while Thailand bagged two.
STORIES AND PICTURES from SINGSOC