Close
Exit

HENG WEI ANN alltherage@thestar.com.my

Contrary to popular belief, cheerleading is a high-level sport where athletes push their bodies to the limit through a combination of choreographed stunts and gymnastics.

Just look up a video on YouTube to know what it’s all about.

On that note, CHEER just so happens to be the biggest, craziest and loudest cheerleading competition in Malaysia, and it’ll be celebrating its 15th anniversary at CHEER 2014.

When cheerleading first arrived on Malaysian shores, the sport had its detractors.
In fact, its validity as a sport was even called into question.

As cheerleading coach Mike Ng put it: “Because of what they saw on TV, people thought cheerleading was only about scantily dressed girls dancing provocatively.”

The coach of four-time champion Cyrens and their sister team Rayvens added: “There have been many cases where parents did not approve of their children participating – until they saw how hard the kids trained.”

However, the sport’s fortunes have changed in recent years.

Not only are fans thronging the stadium every year for the spectacular CHEER finals, but cheerleading is steadily being integrated into the sports curriculum of schools across the country.

And in recent years, the gender bias from the public towards cheerleading has slowly diminished.

The Co-Ed division of CHEER was introduced in 2011, allowing mixed-gender teams.

The move was a huge leap forward for the sport, with physically stronger male teammates allowing teams to execute more spectacular stunts.

It wasn’t easy for the boys though, with naysayers discriminating and teasing them for their love of a “girly sport”.

Unfazed, the boys and co-ed teams did what they do best and burst onto the scene with unbridled passion.

When it comes to being teased, the boys of current CHEER Co-Ed division champions Mickeymitez have it covered, though.

“People can judge us, but we couldn’t care less what they think. “We just focus on ourselves,” said Goon Weng Kitt.

“We compete and we perform. We have already proven ourselves to the school and our fellow students.”

As fellow Mickeymitez member Aik Jin Wee concisely put it: “Ignore what people say and just do what you love.”

In 2011, CHEER added the Co-ed division for mixed-gender teams like the Mickeymitez from SMK Damansara Jaya. Since then, the Co-ed teams upped the ante with some spectacular stunts.

In 2011, CHEER added the Co-ed division for mixed-gender teams like the Mickeymitez from SMK Damansara Jaya. Since then, the Co-ed teams upped the ante with some spectacular stunts.

Cheerleading in Malaysia has sure come a long way since the first CHEER final in 2000.

Not only has the skill level of secondary school cheerleading teams increased, but the formation of “All-Star” teams (professional and semi-professional cheerleading organisations) such as Cheer Aspirations and Cheer Aces has raised the bar.

"In Cheer Aces, we have to work twice as hard and the risks are much higher because the stunts are more complicated.” - Michelle Kong

“In Cheer Aces, we have to work twice as hard and the risks are much higher because the stunts are more complicated.” – Michelle Kong

Michelle Kong, a cheerleader from Cheer Aces All-Stars and excaptain of the Warriors from SMK Sri Sentosa, thinks the standard of high school cheerleading can still improve in the coming years.

“In Cheer Aces, we have to work twice as hard and the risks are much higher because the stunts are more complicated.

“The difference between secondary school and all-star cheerleading is the level of experience.

Some stunts are too risky.

Not only do you have to learn the moves, but you also need to acquire the right physique to execute them.”

However, Mickeymitez co-captain Chiam Shiun Jia, disagrees.

“Earlier this year, Mickeymitez became champions in ACIC’s (Asia Cheerleading Invitational Championships) co-ed senior and co-ed open Level 4 categories, beating all-star teams; so I think we’re definitely on the same level.”

Despite their improvements, Malaysian teams are still lagging at international level.

Even as fourtime national champions, Ng recognises that the Sri KL teams need to improve.

“Participating in world championships made us realise that although we are No. 1 in Malaysia, we can barely break the top 10 on the global stage.

“Cheerleading culture starts slightly late in Malaysia”.

Children only learn about it at secondary school level. CHARM (the Cheerleading Association and Register of Malaysia) has a big role to play in trying to make the sport more widespread as well as educating school teachers and parents alike about what it really is.”

At its very core, cheerleading is a sport that promotes teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship. There can’t possibly be anything wrong with that, can there?

About

Tell us what you think!

BTW…

Cheering their way to victory

EMOTIONS at CHEER 2017 ran the gamut from cheers to tears as 30 of Malaysia’s best high school and college cheerleading teams gathered to stunt their way into the CHEER hall of fame.  The display of talent was awe-inspiring – technically flawless flips, twirls, and tosses abounded – but of the 30, four of the […]

Read more Like this post3

University-level CHEER

CHEER doesn’t have to end after high school anymore – now, universities can get in on the fun too.

Read more Like this post0

Underdog team Anselm wins big at CHEER 2016!

The Anselm cheerleading team from SMK Infant Jesus Convent stunned the field at CHEER 2016, Malaysia’s biggest cheerleading tournament. Check the full list of winners here!

Read more Like this post0

CHEER cheerleaders keep their eyes on the prize

The CHEER Champion trophies have been officially returned, which means only one thing – the 2016 CHEER Finals are here!

Read more Like this post1

Grab some CHEER

Grab, the official transportation partner for CHEER 2016, is sponsoring rides to the Finals!

Read more Like this post0

CHEER is back!

Dust off those pom-poms and unpack the air horns, because CHEER is back! Here are the deets.

Read more Like this post0

Recipe for cheerleading success

Cheerleaders, parents, teacher advisors and coaches talk about the importance of a good support system in cheerleading.

Read more Like this post3

Sponsors spread good cheer at CHEER 2015

The cheerleaders brought their A-game to CHEER 2015, and so did the product sponsors!

Read more Like this post0

A boost for Malaysian cheerleading

U Mobile and Clean & Clear did some cheerleading of their own by supporting CHEER 2015.

Read more Like this post0

Big bounty

The winning teams at CHEER 2015 took home a whole tonne of prizes thanks to some generous sponsors.

Read more Like this post1

One last cheer

Graduating cheerleaders tell R.AGE what it’s like to say goodbye to CHEER.

Read more Like this post1

Cheerleaders back to school

R.AGE followed three cheerleaders back into their classrooms to see how they’re doing with their return to school, post-CHEER

Read more Like this post1
Go top