M’sian squad ready for the challenge
Published on: Tuesday, August 13, 2019
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PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian team who will be competing at the 2019 IWWF Water Ski World Championships which kicks off Tuesday are ready for the challenge in their own backyard despite a mini crisis suffered by Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah two weeks ago.

The 16-year-old injured her left ear during a flip in training and was advised by doctors to rest for two weeks.

Aaliyah, the reigning Asian champion in tricks, has however made a speedy recovery and is eager to jump back into action.

“I wasn’t going to rest with the worlds so close. Fortunately, I’m all healed up now and I’ve been preparing well, first under Larry Gisler and now Marian Malaquin,” said Aaliyah at the pre-tournament press conference here, Monday.

“I’m really excited for the world meet because this is the waters that I’ve been skiing in since I was young.”

The other members of the Malaysian team are Aiden Yoong Hanifah, Adam Yoong Hanifah and Nadiah Nasir.

Meanwhile, the competition which will be held at the Putrajaya Water Sports Complex in Precinct 6, here sees five-time champions Canada looking to recapture the team overall title from the United States. 

Canada’s team manager cum head coach Steve Bush said the squad would be pinning their hopes on two current world champions—Ryan Dodd and Neilly Ross, besides former two-time world champion, Whitney McClintock to wrest the overall team title from their North American rivals.

He also hoped the presence of 2019 Pan-American Games overall gold medallist Dorien Llewellyn would help boost the team’s chances at the biennial tournament.

“I believe we’re in good shape to win the team title. That is our goal since we missed it in 2017, and we’ve made some adjustments to the team.

“We certainly have a good chance but it’s going to be a roller-coaster ride. The United States team are always the top team that we’re after, but there are also strong teams like Belarus, France and possibly England as well,” said Bush.

For the record, Canada finished in third place in the overall team category, behind France and the United States in the 2017 edition held at Creteil, France.

Whitney, the 2009 and 2011 slalom champion, on the other hand, is confident that the inclusion of several young skiers within the team, including her step-daughter, Paige Rini, would give other teams - especially the United States – a run for their money.

“We’ve worked really hard to come out on top this time. This team is young but it is a strong team.

“I think the difference from 2017 is that we added a few more backup tricking scorers to the team. Two years ago, I let the team down, unfortunately, in tricking. So hopefully we’ll get it back this time,” Whitney added.

A total of 168 participants from 39 countries will take part in the tournament from Tuesday until Aug 18 which features six events.


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