Aaliyah down with Covid-19, withdraws from 2020 World Junior Meet

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian teenage water skier, Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah’s (pix) mission of slaying the World Junior Championship title has to be aborted after she tested positive for Covid-19 and decided to withdraw from the 2020 World Junior meet.

Aaliyah, who is scheduled to compete in the 2020 World Junior meet in Florida, United States from Aug 22-29 unfortunately came down with the virus earlier this week together with Hanifah Yoong, her father and coach.

The Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) in a statement today informed that they have decided to pull her out from the championship after consulting with National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail.

“It’s been a real bummer and I’m definitely devastated with the outcome, I don’t think there’s much I can do about this situation and even if I recovered after quarantine and went ahead, I would not have time to prepare myself adequately,” she said in the statement today.

The 18-year-old was initially scheduled to depart for Florida on July 26 and would have had a three-week period for training before the competition, but coming down with Covid-19 and lack of proper training due to the Movement Control (to curb spread of Covid-19) over the last few months, has put paid to Aaliyah’s title aspirations.

“To be honest, I’ve not really been able to train properly since May with the MCO (Movement Control) situation, as there has been so many interruptions. I know there’s still a next time in regard to competitions but it’s still a very devastating outcome for me as I was looking forward to the World Junior title as it is the last year I am eligible for the Under-17 title,” she said.

Aaliyah has been collecting close to 9,000 points in training despite the lack of competition over the past two years but she will be overage by the next World Junior meet and can only compete in the World Under-21 Championships.

“I will aim to compete at the next World Championship that will be held next year and my objective is to win two titles at the World Under-21 Championships in 2023,” she said.

Meanwhile, Hanifah said that it is a very disappointing outcome because Aaliyah was in a state to win and the World Junior Meet title had always been her goal.

“She’s also made big sacrifices, having stopped school last year in order to focus on the World Junior meet.

“We are also sorry to the sponsors, both local and international, for being unable to compete at the world juniors. We are indeed very grateful for their support for the continuous support and hope to make amends by doing well in upcoming competitions to give them the mileage to repay their support,” added Hanifah.

Aaliyah is now waiting for her full recovery and will start her preparations for the Asian Waterski and Wakeboard Championships, scheduled for this September and to focus on her next major title which is the World Under-21 Championships in 2023. — Bernama





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