AALIYAH Yoong did not disappoint in her maiden World Waterski Championships final as she bettered her Asian record en route to a respectable ninth placing in the women’s tricks decider in Putrajaya yesterday.
Aaliyah, who did not make any finals in two previous appearances, fell towards the end of her routine but it was still enough to see her earn 7,440 on the scorecard to surpass the previous record of 7,320 she set in the preliminaries on Friday.
The 16-year-old said she could not have asked for more in the final, which featured the top-12 trick skiers in the world.
“Although I fell and did not manage to get my last two tricks in, I am happy with my performance today (yesterday),” said Aaliyah yesterday.
“I am lucky the judges didn’t take away my last flip and I got a higher score than in the preliminaries.
“Usually, I am not very consistent. But to exceed 7,000 points twice in a row is amazing and I hope to be more consistent in the future.
“I actually felt nervous in the preliminaries because it was my first time on the water for the tricks event here and I wanted to make the final. Today. I was more relaxed.
“It is quite challenging to ski here because it is open water and you really have to adapt to the wind. I’ve been here for 11 years, so I know how it is.”
Anna Gay of the United States won the tricks title with a new championship record of 10,530. Peruvian Natalia Cuglievan (9,570) and German Giannina Bonnemann (8,740) came in second and third.
Joel Howley clinched Australia’s first men’s slalom title since Brett Thurley in 1993 after edging Britain’s Frederick Winter and William Asher in a run-off.
Howley came out tops in the tiebreaker with 1.00 buoys/58kmh/10.25m to Winter and Asher’s 5.00/58/10.75 and 4.50/58/10.75.
Howley, however, fell hard during his final run and injured his ankle.
Australia also took the women’s jump title through Jacinta Carroll (54.9m), followed by Belarus' Hanna Straltsova (53.5m) and American Regina Jaquess (51.2m).
Canada’s Ryan Dodd secured his third consecutive men’s jump title with a 67.9m effort. Chile’s Felipe Miranda (65.6m) and Britain’s Joel Poland (64.4m) took silver and bronze.
Czech Republic’s Martin Kolman took the overall men’s individual title on 2,769.11, followed by compatriot Adam Sedlmajer (2,728.49) and Britain’s Joel Poland (2,717.30).
Canadian Whitney McClintock Rini turned back the clock to win the women’s overall individual title 10 years after winning it for the first time in Calgary in 2009.
Whitney scored a combined 2,569.21 total from the three disciplines to secure her sixth world title. Her last gold prior to this came via the slalom in 2011 Dubai edition.
Hanna came in second on 2,465.71 while American Brooke Baldwin was third with 2,448.92. Aaliyah also did well to finish 10th from 20 skiers that competed in all three disciplines on 1,984.63.
Canada emerged overall champions in the team category with a 8,026.87 total, followed by the US (8,019.55) and France (7,933.50).