If you chanced upon the youngest gold medalist in the 2017 SEA Games, what would you ask Adam Yoong Hanifah? Our questions may not be enough to tame our curiosity, but we have to start somewhere to know this sporting champion better.
Out of the 145 gold medalists in the recent SEA Games, Adam was one of the collective few who gave Malaysia a reason to play our national anthem last August. “I felt so happy for winning my first gold medal in the 2017 SEA Games,” he beams widely. “It was magical watching the Malaysian flag being raised with the crowd singing our national anthem, Negaraku. I just sang along with everyone and I felt so proud”.
Adam aced the water skiing arena as a confident nine year old who is out to prove that age is just a number. He believes that the possibilities are endless when focusing on being the best he can be. “My focus is to enjoy training and competition. I had to train myself not to be distracted by my competitors,” Adam shares with Nexus. “I concentrate on doing my best. If I worry too much, I will perform less than what I am capable of”.
While competing brilliantly in the water skiing tricks category, he is also expanding to slalom and jump categories, which shares the same form of technicality. Adam admits that young athletes requires more strength and power to be as competitive as the adults. “The way forward is to work hard in training and stay focused in competitions”.
When asked if he could reimagine himself as an athlete of a different sport, Adam still chose a sport that would push him to go the extra mile. “I’m pretty good in sprinting,” he hints. “My father, Mr Hanifah Yoong, was a former national athlete and champion in the 400 meters hurdle. He is also a good athletics coach,” he shares with pride. Still, his passion for water skiing remains true to his heart. “If I could, I would train every day, but my father advised that I need other distractions from water skiing and studying,” Adam explains before indulging us with his favourite pastimes such as horse riding, hitting the gym and watching movies.
Adam is a student at heart and you will find him learning diligently in the classrooms of Nexus. “In primary, I have to catch up with my homework assignments,” he says when asked about balancing between sports and school. “My parents help me to get up to speed with the learning I missed. Nexus also helped by giving me time to attend training camps and compete overseas,” Adam expresses with gratitude.
You might wonder what makes a true sporting champion. Whether it derives from natural talent, burning passion or persistent hard work, Adam is a young athlete who enjoys the journey rather than setting his sights on the destination. “My parents always tell me to enjoy water skiing for the time being,” he shares before concluding with wise words from his family member. “Have fun during training, enjoy the competition, and do your best”.
This article titled ‘Meet the Rising Star of Water Skiing’ was published on the Nexus News by Nexus International School Malaysia in October 2017. Kindly refer to this link to view from its original publication.