National water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah created history after clinching the jump bronze medal at the Under-21 World Championships in Boca Laguna, Mexico, on Saturday.The 19-year-old, who is now based in the United States where she attends the Florida Southern College, leapt to a distance of 45.20m to settle for third place.
Chile’s Agustina Varas claimed the gold with a flying distance of 49.50m, while Australia’s Sade Ferguson pipped Aaliyah to silver with 45.30m.It was still, however, a tremendous achievement for the youngster who became the first Malaysian and Asian to win a medal at a water ski world meet.
Aaliyah also enjoyed a strong run in the slalom final. She improved from her 12th position in the preliminaries to finish ninth in the final.With nothing to lose, she stayed consistent enough for a 3/55kmh/12m finish to move up to ninth.
The event was won by American Annemarie Wroblewski, who finished with 0.5/55/10.75, while Sade (4/55/11.25) and Chile’s Trinidad Espinal (3.5/55/11.25) took silver and bronze, respectively.The only dampener for Aaliyah was falling short of taking a medal in the overall category.
Aaliyah had started the day in third spot, but Sade’s excellent showing meant she got bumped down to fourth spot.She finished with a total of 2065.38, behind third-placed Australian Lara Butlin, who garnered 2136.98 points.
American Kennedy Hansen won the overall gold with 2786.30 points, while Sade took the silver with 2553.80.”I am excited as I pushed hard for my first world podium,” said Aaliyah.
Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) coach Hanifah Yoong said it was a proud moment for Aaliyah and Malaysia.”This is certainly a historic moment as Aaliyah is the first Malaysian and Asian to stand on the podium at a world meet,” said Hanifah.
Source: New Straits Times