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By ALEXIS POINARD and JULIEN CHEN

THE Malaysian cheerleading season is well and truly underway!

Just two weeks ago, the CHARM Cheerleading Championships (C3) kicked things off with over 1,300 cheerleaders from roughly 140 teams taking part.

And, as usual, the Malaysian cheerleading community’s positive spirit was on display throughout the championship.

“There was a very competitive yet friendly atmosphere,” said Beverley Hon, president of the Cheerleading Association and Register of Malaysia (CHARM).

“We saw a lot of sportsmanship during the event.”

It was a great way to mark one of the biggest events on the Malaysian cheerleading calendar, which culminates every year with the CHEER Finals, Malaysia’s biggest inter-school cheerleading championship.

There was even more cause for celebration at C3 this year as it was the competition’s 10th anniversary.

Over the years, C3 has grown significantly along with the rest of the Malaysian cheerleading community, which is now an industry on its own with professional teams, coaches, training gyms, competitions and, of course, lots of fans.

C3 now attracts teams from across South-East Asia. According to Hon, that can only help improve the quality of local cheerleaders as they learn from the region’s best, and network with them for more future opportunities.

Calyx All Girls from SMJK Katholik got second place at the Charm 2016 competition.

Calyx All Girls from SMJK Katholik got second place at the Charm 2016 competition.

But it wasn’t just the teams that were international – the judges were as well.

International Cheer Union (ICU) accredited judges from Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the United States were brought in to evaluate the teams at C3, including head judge Michael Cooper, ICU International Director of Curriculum.

The competition is split into various divisions, including the partner stunt division, group stunt division and pom division. Competitors ranged from as young as seven, all the way up to university level.

But arguably the two most popular divisions, the Team Cheer Open All-Girl Level 4 and Team Cheer Open Co-ed Level 4 divisions, were won by two of Malaysia’s star teams – the Cyrens and Mickeymitez.

The Cyrens, defending CHEER Finals champions, are an all-girls team from SM Sri Kuala Lumpur, while the Mickeymitez are a co-ed team from SMK Damansara Jaya. Both teams are based in Selangor.

Cyrens from Sri KL International were champions for Charm 2016.

Cyrens from Sri KL International were champions for Charm 2016.

Despite all the amazing stunts and performances at C3, Hon had some important words of advice for the cheerleaders.

“They have to know their basics before going to the next level. It’s all about progression, progression, progression! I cannot stress this enough,” she said.

Find out more about the Malaysian cheerleading scene at rage.com.my/cheer and fb.com/thestarCHEER.

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