July 26, 2017

Yoong and

She's 14 and already has three SEA Games gold medals. — Azneal Ishak

Words: R. Rohaizam

HANIFAH YOONG's children must have been born in water!

All five are water skiing experts.

Eldest son Alex, also a former Formula 1 driver, and daughter Philippa are SEA Games gold medallists.

Now ... 

Youngest daughter Aaliyah, 14, carries the family torch as the main star in the sport.

Has been water skiing since five years old.

Won gold at Palembang 2011 and Singapore 2015.

Victory in tricks event (2011) made her the youngest gold medallist in Games history. She was eight.

Next month ... 

She can add to her three SEA Games gold medals at KL2017.

SEA Games veteran at 14.

What got Aaliyah interested in the first place?

Watching IWWF Waterski World Cup in Putrajaya in 2008.

So many world champions and world record holders competed. That had a big impact on me. I wanted to be like them.


Driven by siblings ... 

Alex and Philippa were water ski champions. They were my targets to chase when I started.


Alex is still the only Malaysian F1 racer.


They motivated me greatly. There are only advantages having family as fellow competitors.

Similarly ... 

Younger siblings Aiden, 11, and Adam, 9, have benefited by being in the boat with Aaliyah during training. 

With Hanifah and mother Nozie Sulaiman. — Facebook

Philippa, now the SEA Games team coach, is one proud sister.

She's incredible. She has far surpassed what I ever did.

Champion water skiers. — Facebook

Philippa is right.

At 14, Aaliyah has already competed at SEA Games, Asian Games and World Championships.

Among her titles:

> Asian Open women tricks champion (2017).

> Asian Oceanian Open women tricks champion (2016).

Asian Open women tricks champion (2013).

> SEA Games women tricks champion (2011 and 2015).

> SEA Games women overall champion (2015).

Aaliyah not bad on the wake board either. — Instagram

Splendid indeed.

Asian champion? Check.

What's next?

World domination.

I want to be world champ before I retire. Then, I want to excel in whatever career I choose.

Such a wise head on 'Yoong' shoulders.

Way to go, Aaliyah.

Did you know?

Aaliyah gets psyched for competition by listening to favourite band My Chemical Romance.